If you want to learn easy ways that you can reduce food waste and plastic garbage all while saving money, you have to read these smart tips!
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This post is all about strategies you can use to help reduce food waste at home.
You don’t have to be perfect to change the world for the better. You and your family can make a big difference with simple efforts because it adds up! Make improvements with these quick tips on how you can reduce food waste and save the landfills from single-use plastics.
30 + Smart Strategies to Reduce Food Waste at Home
How to Stop Food Wastage
Arguably, the kitchen has the most impact on the trash we produce, especially in larger households.
Reduce Waste and Save Money
Would you like more money? Who wouldn’t?! How much money have you spent on edible food that went bad before you ate it?
Do you know how much produce have you had to toss out because you didn’t take the time to cook at home but got take-out instead? And, how often do you have food leftover in the styrofoam takeaway container?
I wasted so much money on food and packaging. Sadly, the national average cost of food waste is about $1500 a year per family.
What could you do with an extra $1500?
Reducing food waste is not just a global concern but a personal one. We need to stop throwing away edible food.
So, take the time to practice these nine strategies to reduce your food waste, and by default, you will create less garbage and keep more money in your pocket!
In the United States, families throw away nearly half of all the food they purchase. According to the USDA, people toss out an estimated 66.5 million tons of food every year!
Food products are a big business. Unfortunately, most of these packaged items use non-recyclable materials. Plastics can have perks such as reducing the weight of shipments and fuel consumption.
However, the environmental cost dramatically outweighs the benefits. The overuse of plastics is proving to have devastating effects on the environment.
Here are some helpful tips to reduce food waste!
- Buy food in smaller quantities.
- Do a pantry purge and fridge cleanout to use up what you have before shopping.
- Use a shopping list.
- Compost vegetable scraps.
- Freeze items before they go bad. Store foods like ripe fruits in the freezer or dehydrate for a tasty
#1 Can Dining In Help Reduce Food Waste?
The most important way that we can reduce the amount of food (and plastic) waste is to take responsibility for what we spend our money on.
Instead, consider dining out much less often, and instead prepare your own meals every day. As a result, this ensures that you know how your food was prepared and what went into it.
Also, making your own meals prevents all the utensils, bags, and styrofoam from going straight to a landfill.
The best way to know exactly what is in your food is to prepare it yourself. So, I recommend dining in whenever you can, but dining out should be enjoyed as well. Have fun, eat well, and support the businesses you care about.
Importantly, look for organic farm-to-table restaurants and consider splitting a dinner with a partner. That is a great way to reduce the amount of food thrown away.
You can enjoy your life, and still make efforts to make the world a better place.
Tips for Reducing Food Waste While Dining Out
- Opt for restaurants that pack their food in paper and cardboard packaging.
- Refuse plastic cutlery, condiments, and plastic cups, straws and lids.
- Bring your own to-go kit with silverware, a glass container, insulated bottle, and condiments.
- Dine in instead of carrying out. You can make zero extra waste by skipping the take-out meal.
- Support great restaurants that share your commitment to reducing food and plastic waste.
#2 Reverse Meal Planning to Reduce Food Waste
I’ll admit it. Meal planning has not always been easy for me. And, the routine of it all is my biggest challenge.
Initially, I do well until I drop the ball, and I will drop the ball. I have found a new way that works better, and prevents food waste – reverse meal planning!
Reverse meal planning is just planning out a menu of meals that you can make using only the ingredients you have on hand before the next grocery run.
For example, this method requires you to use up all perishable ingredients. Also, if you have more food left over than expected, consider ways to preserve it. Make soups, broths, and freezer meals.
Use reverse meal planning with future meal planning using a simplified meal schedule to make dinners easy!
Create a rhythm that works for you and your family. Have special foods each day of the week. For example, try Meatless Mondays or Taco Tuesdays.
This keeps decision fatigue out of the kitchen and reduces the stress that goes along with it.
Try This Simplified Eating Schedule:
Mondays: Vegan Buddha Bowls
Tuesdays: Mexican Style, not limited to Tacos
Wednesdays: Instant Pot or Slow-Cooker Meal
Thursdays: Sheet Pan Dinners
Fridays: Soup and Salad
Saturdays: Sushi, Fish or Seafood
Sundays: Dine Out
Be cautious when buying reusable zip lock bags! I have seen few work well and they can be hard to close. These are my recommendation. They are thick and durable, you can easily press out all the air to reduce freezer burn, and they are easy to care for. – Tara
#3 Stock Up on Tools to Reduce Food Waste
A little preparation goes a long way to help reduce food waste, and garbage as well. Invest in well-made glass storage containers with locking lids, jars, and reusable silicone freezer bags.
In addition, keep a to-go kit in your bag or car for dining out. You will set yourself up for success by stocking the tools that you will need.
Pro-Tip: Freeze fruit like berries and bananas for smoothies.
Have These Tools on Hand to Make Reducing Waste Easier
- Silicone Freezer Bags
- Wide-mouth Mason Jars
- Beeswax Wraps
- Glass Storage Containers
- Small Glass Containers for Condiments
- Insulated Beverage Travel Cups, Mugs, or Hydro-flask
- To-Go Kit: Silverware set, Reusable Straw, Glass Storage Container, Cloth Napkin, Condiments as Required
#4 Shopping Tips to Reduce Food Waste
I swear by perfecting a master shopping list, and sticking to it. More importantly, buy some things in bulk and buy fresh produce weekly, so the chance of creating waste is small.
Try Out These Tips on Your Next Shopping Trip
- Create a Master Shopping List and a go-to meal plan, so you have an idea of which meals to make at any time.
- Buying in bulk: Order items that you will consume within 6 months and try to order from fewer places to combine shipping.
- Make a weekly grocery order for fresh items like produce and fish or meats. Buy the minimum amount of produce you and your family will consume that week.
- Buy whole, organic foods
- Shop at your local farmer’s market whenever possible.
- Avoid purchasing products in plastic.
#5 Waste Not, Want Not
Before your next shopping trip, try to use up any ingredients you have on hand. For instance, soup is a great way to enjoy all the produce before it expires.
I always keep cans of crushed tomatoes and spices on hand so that I can make a hearty stew or veggie soup. Simply put, soup is such a comfort food, and full of nutrients! There are so many recipes to try.
More Ways to Reduce Food Garbage
- Chop onions, celery, garlic and dehydrate. Then, blend them in a food processor. This makes an AMAZING seasoning for later use.
- Root vegetable scraps, potato skins, and other bits and pieces of produce can be frozen for later. Instead of composting, after each meal prep place the scraps in a container in the freezer. Use this to make vegetable stock. Freeze the vegetable stock in ice cube trays to add to dishes like mashed potatoes or soups for extra nutrients and flavor.
- Make and freeze (or can) soups to enjoy later
- Get a counter top compost bin to make composting a breeze.
#6 Set a Routine to Reduce Food Waste
Creating a routine is the ticket for success. You need to set aside time to plan and prepare for the next day. Prep your lunch and have a dinner idea ready to go, so that you will already have the ball in motion.
The main cause of food waste at home is lack of preparation.
You might be tired at the end of the day. However, if you have a simple plan in place you will be less likely to give in to ordering take-out when you need to use up the produce in your fridge!
Things to Take With You to Reduce Food Waste
- To-go Kit
- Snack- Always!
- Water bottle and mug. I swear by these two brands!
#7 Improve Your Relationship With Food
Food brings us together. We create traditions and customs that wouldn’t stand without certain foods. Birthday cake and holiday turkeys are what we look forward to!
We look to food to bring us comfort, happiness, and pleasure. However, food addictions are real. In our society, there is not enough support and education to help people form healthy relationships with food.
We see and hear advertisements for unhealthy fast food restaurants, sweets, and drinks. Unfortunately, food is also a root cause of chronic diseases.
Reflect on These Ideas to Help Heal Your Relationship With Food
- Every time you eat, you have the opportunity to nourish your body with the most nutrients possible to provide your body with everything it needs to repair and restore health. Don’t take that for granted. The better quality food you give your body, the better you will feel and perform.
- Eating whole fruits, vegetables, beans, and some grains feed healthy gut bacteria, which keeps your immunity at its best.
- Don’t fear food and forgive yourself for eating that cookie! If you commit yourself to nourishing your body with the healthiest foods available to you the majority of the time, it will perform better. That means, you won’t need to be so strict.
#8 Adopt a “Zero-Waste” Mindset to Reduce Food Waste
The zero waste movement can be viewed as an extreme and unsustainable lifestyle. Although that can be true in some instances, I have found that having a “zero-waste” mindset to be very motivating.
It is possible to make absolutely no waste, but not all the time. Realistically, most people cannot commit to that extreme until bigger changes are made in our society. But, I believe that every little effort is worth it.
Don’t worry if you aren’t perfect.
Do your best, and try to live in a way that is inspiring to others.
You Vote Every time You Swipe Your Card.
The outstanding number of single-use plastics are piling up in landfills. In our society, going zero waste seems like fighting a losing battle. It is a worldwide problem, and it might feel impossible to make any kind of impact on your own.
Don’t be discouraged! Reducing food waste in your kitchen, choosing restaurants with paper packaging, and avoiding single-use plastics by bringing your own mug can make a big impact.
Every purchase we make is a vote. Using less disposable plastic will in turn lessen the demand for it.
This post was all about strategies you can use to help reduce food waste at home.
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Learn About Sustainability
Knowing your food and taking responsibility for how it is produced is the best way to make a positive ecological impact.
You are reducing waste and resources while relying less on conventional agriculture and its use of pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate.
Most importantly, you will be eating the healthiest way possible. Learn how to grow some of your own foods!
Are you on a journey to be more self-sufficient?
Have you checked these essential gardening components off the list, yet? I would love to hear how it is going! Let me know about how gardening for self-sufficiency is working for you and your tribe by commenting below.