The food an average household wastes is huge, and that food wastage is money down the drain. Making a few simple changes and creating new habits when it comes to using your food will turn all of this around, and have you using every item of food that enters your house.
Here are 20 ways to avoid food wastage that will have you wasting less food, and saving more money in the process.
1. Shop your pantry
Before writing a shopping list always check what you already have at home. You might already have the ingredients you need lurking in the back of the pantry or freezer.
2. Get meal planning
Meal planning is popular for a reason; because it works! Planning your meals means you spend less time at the supermarket wondering what you need to buy, and less money.
3. Write a specific list
Writing a list is important, after all how are you supposed to remember everything you need? If you head to the supermarket without a list, you can almost guarantee there will be things you will forget. Make the list a specific list, which includes the exact amount of each item you need. Rather than just tinned tomatoes write 2 x tinned tomatoes.
4. Buy only as much as you need
Rather than loading up the trolley without a second thought, stop and think about how much of each item you really need. If you only eat 7 apples per week, there is not much point buying 10 during your weekly shop.
5. Buy in bulk, but only if you need it
Buying in bulk is a fantastic way to save money when compared with smaller pack sizes, but only if you are going to use it all. For example, a 5kg bag of potatoes per kg than a 2kg pack, but it's going to cost you more if you only end up using 2kg of the large pack.
6. Stick to your list
There is not much point making a list if you are not going to stick to it at the grocery store. Buying only what is on the list will stop you from making impulse buys, meaning no food sitting in the pantry that you didn't need in the first place.
7. Organise your fridge and pantry
Keeping your fridge and pantry organised will make it a whole lot easier to see exactly what you have, making it more likely that you will use it rather than the food going to waste.
8. Move expiring items to the front
This is especially important when it comes to your fridge. Every week make a point of having a quick look in the fridge and moving any items close to expiry toward the front of the fridge. That way you see those items every time you open the fridge, and are more likely to use them before the expiry date.
9. Gift extra food items
If you have more canned and packaged food in your pantry than you know what to do with, and it's still within the expiry date, gift it to those in need.
10. Cook only what you will eat
Rather than cooking an entire packet of pasta for only 2 people and having half go in the bin, cook the exact amount that you need.
11. Eat leftovers
If you do have leftovers, be sure to use them. Leftovers make an easy lunch for the next day, can be used as the base of a meal for the next night, or if you have enough left, and entire meal for the next night. If you know you won't have the opportunity to eat the leftovers, pop them straight in the freezer for a later date when you don't feel like cooking.
12. Have a creative meal night once per week
When creating your weekly meal, leave one day a week free, then use that night to get creative in the kitchen and make something using ingredients you already have on hand. It's always fun to see what you can come up with.
13. Store food according to the label
Always read the label of everything to see if it needs refrigeration or not. Some items will keep for much longer in the fridge, while others are better kept at room temperature.
14. Know where to store food in your fridge
Certain parts of your fridge are colder than others, so knowing exactly where to store things in the fridge could keep them fresher for much longer. Temperatures in the fridge door can fluctuate greatly as the door is open and closed, so it's best not to store items such as milk and eggs there.
15. Use your freezer
Freezers are great for both leftovers and any foods you have to much of. Get into the habit of freezing any fruits or vegetables that are getting too ripe. Vegetables can then be used to make soups or stocks, and fruits, especially bananas and strawberries and other berries, are great for smoothies straight out of the freezer.
16. Buy loose rather than pre-packaged
It might be cheaper to buy food in larger pre-packaged amounts, but it's just going to be a waste of money if you don't use it all up. Instead, buy food loose from the bulk bins, such as baby spinach, mixed lettuce leaves and nuts, that way you can buy exactly what you need.
17. Know the difference between use by and best before
Every food item has either a use by or best before date, but do you know the difference between the two? Anything with a use by date should be consumed by that date or thrown out, but items with a best before date can be eaten after that date, it just means that the taste or texture may start to change.
18. Shop more often
If you are great at avoiding impulse purchases and only buying what you need, shopping more often is a good way to only buy what you need in smaller amounts.
19. Learn to love frozen fruit and vegetables
Frozen fruits and vegetables are just as nutritious as their fresh equivalents, but save so much money as you can simple take out what you need, and put the rest back in the freezer for another day.
20. Freeze bakery items
Do you find yourself only using half a loaf of bread before it goes stale? Freeze your bakery items as soon as you bring them home from the supermarket, and take it out of the freezer bit by bit as you need it. For example, store your loaves of bread in the freezer, and simply take out as many slices as you need at that time, putting the rest back in the freezer.
Do you know any other ways to save on food wastage? We would love to hear from you!