Finding ways to reduce food waste is a good idea for two main reasons. One is that it saves us money; we all buy produce that we don't then eat. Secondly, cutting down on wasted food is good for the environment. Think of how often you end up throwing food away, then try these ways to reduce food waste …
One of the best ways to reduce food waste is to freeze any leftovers. The bonus of doing so is that you can have a quick meal another day. But you don't just have to freeze leftovers. You can also pop meat and vegetables in the freezer if you're not going to use them up quickly. In fact, it's possible to freeze bread, some cakes, fresh herbs and many other food items.
2. Soups & Stews
Any leftover vegetables can be put to good use by making a nourishing healthy soup. Pretty much any combination will work. It's a good way of using up potatoes that are almost past their best, or you can just use the vegetables. Leftover veggies can also be used to make a tasty stew; add meat, chicken, pulses or whatever you have lying around in the cupboard.
3. Avoid Bulk Buys
It's tempting to buy in bulk because it's better value. This is true if you are catering for a family and you're going to use up the item before it goes off. However, bulk buying can be a waste if you don't use up your purchases. There's no point getting a 'bargain' if you throw some of it away, so consider whether it makes more sense to buy in smaller quantities.
4. 'Special' Offers?
Shops know that putting special offers on display gets the interest of their customers. But it's not a smart purchase if you can't use it up. Always look closely at such offers. Non-perishable items can be worth buying, whereas perishable items could end up in the bin. What's the point of buying something that you're not going to use?
I know I find it really hard to judge how much pasta, rice etc. to cook. If there are leftovers, it's invariably too small to be worth saving for another meal. Over time, I'm probably throwing away quite a bit of food. Learn to judge portions so that you don't end up throwing food away.
6. Watch Use by Dates
If you see items like yoghurts or cakes at reduced prices, you may think that it's worth picking some up. But look closely at the date. The products may be reduced because they're getting close to their sell-by date. Leave them on the shelf if you know that you can't eat them in time, and they can't be frozen. Save your money for items that you are going to eat.
7. Think Twice
Finally, an important key to cutting down food waste is not to buy food that you 'might' use or don't really like. You'll almost certainly end up throwing it away. While it may be worth trying something new, it isn't worth spending money on things that you hardly ever use. It'll just end up in the bin If you must buy it, pick the smallest size available.
When many people find it hard to feed their families, it seems wrong for us to be throwing any away. Perhaps if we make an effort to reduce the amount of food we waste, stores and manufacturers will have to reduce prices and market their products in more economical sizes. It will certainly save us some much-needed cash! How much food do you waste?