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18 Smart and Must-follow Ways to Combat Food Waste at Home

Ways to Combat Food Waste at Home
Think twice before throwing away those leftovers from last night. They could serve a million other purposes. Don't think so? Read this HomeQuicks post to find out how.
HomeQuicks Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Did you know?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Americans throw away up to 40 percent of their food. And to dispose off this waste, the U.S. spends more than USD 1 billion every year!
Lucky are those who don't know what it is like to go without food. It is up to these lucky ones who are provided with more than sufficient reserves, to minimize food wastage which has been a global problem for many years now. Most of the wasted food ends up in landfills, where it is processed to form methane―a gas which affects the climate in an adverse way. Not to mention the number of people who go to bed on an empty stomach due to such wastage.

Food is wasted in large quantities at different levels; edible crops are rejected for not being visually appealing, a lot of produce is lost in transportation, consumers buy bulk food, consumption is less than what is cooked. All these factors contribute towards food wastage. There are a number of ways in which you can avoid wasting food. Some of them have been mentioned in this HomeQuicks article. Read, learn, and do your bit.
Shop Wisely
Plan
Vegetables and cookbook
Make a weekly plan that enlists the meals you will be cooking on each day of the week. This way, you know what to buy and how much to buy.
Buy only what you need
Woman buying vegetables
Based on your plan for the week, make a shopping list, and then go food and grocery shopping. Stick to what you need to buy, and refrain from impulsive, off-the-shelf shopping.
Avoid getting trapped by promotional sales
Discount on products
Stay away from promotional offers and sales. You end up buying stuff that you don't really need, causing unnecessary wastage.
Buy in parts, instead of whole
Woman buying products
If you wish to try out a new recipe, and the recipe needs just four slices of pineapple, buy fresh and loose produce, instead of buying a whole can of processed pineapples. Make bulk purchases when it comes to grains, nuts, and spices.
Don't Waste
Wastage of foods
Prioritize
Woman preparing dinner
Choose to cook those items first that will perish faster if stored for too long.
Don't prepare more than what is required
Woman cooking at home
Storing food for later use is okay, but try not to cook or prepare elaborate meals when you are sure about how much will be really sufficient.
Carry a doggie bag
Man buying bakery products
When eating out at restaurants, feel free to ask the waiters to pack the leftovers that you can carry home. Reheat the next day and eat it. This avoids wastage to a great extent.
Use what is bought
No matter how perfectly you try to follow your weekly meal plans, emergencies are bound to happen. You might be invited to a dinner, or might decide to eat out. But make sure you utilize whatever you bought before it gets spoiled, and you don't have to throw it away.
Remember what's in your pantry
Woman checking products
An uncluttered and clean kitchen is not only necessary for hygienic reasons, it also lets you keep a check on your store. Regularly check your cupboards and pantry, so that you are aware about the available ingredients or the ones you need to refill.
Take/Serve smaller portions
Lunch with family
At the dinner table, whether in a restaurant, or at home, fill your plate with smaller servings. If needed, you can always ask for a second helping. This is good for restricting waste as well as the waist.
Store Appropriately
Keep it fresh
Woman searching in fridge
Educate yourself on the ways to store food in a way that will keep them fresh for the longest duration. For example, certain fruits need to be stored inside the fridge, while certain vegetables should never be washed before storing them in the fridge.
Learn to read labels
Woman checking dates on products
These labels include information about manufacturing date, best-by date, use-by date, sell-by date, and its expiry date. The sell-by date is the last date on which you should ideally buy that product, but can use it until a week later too. The best-by date is the day the food reaches its peak quality, and should preferably not be used after that.
Maintain the temperature of the refrigerator
Modern refrigerator display
Warm storage tends to spoil food faster, and hence, is not recommended, unless a particular food item demands it. To ensure freshness and longevity, store food in a refrigerator which is set at a temperature of 1 to 5 °C.
Freeze
Opened freezer
Freezing food items stabilizes the oil present in them, thus, preventing them from getting spoiled. Maintain the temperature of the freezer at -18 °C.
Preserve and Share
Reuse leftovers
Quarter of pizza
Reheat last night's pizza slices, and eat them at lunch the next day. Leftover vegetables can be used to toss-up a salad, softer and less fresh fruits can be blended into juices or smoothies, and leftover pasta can be filled into tacos.
Compost scraps
Composting scraps
Apart from meat, fish, dairy products, and peels of certain citrus fruits like oranges, limes, and lemons, you can compost food scraps, and use it in your garden. Uncooked vegetables that have gone soggy, soiled fruits, salads, etc., can be used to create compost.
Share your food
Foods for poor
Do this not only because you want to avoid throwing away your leftover food, but also because someone out there is starving, and is not privileged enough to have food.
Keep these essential tips in mind, and reduce as much wastage of food as possible. Since it starts at home, do your bit and educate others too. It will eventually add up to the betterment of the condition that affects the world when it comes to minimizing food wastage.
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