I’ve been reading up a lot on food waste ever since I learned that nearly 40% of food in America is thrown away. A major place where this is happening is restaurants, but if you’re like the average American and spend about $150 per week, that would mean that you’re throwing away over $3,000 worth of food every year.
I don’t know about you, but if I could get back $3,000 every year, I can think of a few pretty sweet things that I’d do with that….going to Disney, renting a space ship, wearing a suit made of diamonds… *cough cough* paying off college loans *cough cough*.
You probably can’t make a big difference in the restaurant industry, but there are other organizations working on that. I wanted to give you a couple of solutions to help you start saving food and money. In addition, I created a few printables to help you work on each of these solutions! I’m just starting with four ways that you can work on reducing your food waste a little bit at a time. Maybe later we’ll have a 2.0 post, but for now it’s good to start with small steps!
Click the “Saving Food” link below to download your free printables and start reducing your food waste:
1. Plan Your Meals
By planning your meals you accomplish two things: first, you’re more aware of what you’re putting into your body and are more likely to eat nutritiously; second, you know exactly what ingredients you need to purchase in order to make your meals instead of showing up to the grocery store and picking up items you may never use.
2. Stick to a Grocery List
If you create and stick to your grocery list, you’re less likely to make impulse-buy decisions. This can save you nearly 23% in a grocery trip. This also means that you’re less likely to pick up foods that you’re not going to eat.
Fun fact, taking a cart into the store can actually reduce over buying! When you carry a basket your arm gets uncomfortable and then you’re more likely to treat yourself because your so uncomfortable. I can’t remember where I read that, but I thought it was so interesting!
3. Freeze items you’re not going to eat in time.
Freeze items that you’re not going to eat before they go bad. This way you can use them later on. You can do this by pureeing veggies to use in soups or sauces, chopping veggies and then using them in omelettes, or freezing fruits to use in smoothies. Cheese, bread, and meat all freeze very well and you can use them later. Here are some tips on how to freeze fruits and veggies so they’ll taste best when you thaw them later.
You can also freeze enough items so you don’t have to go to the grocery store the next week. If you can skip a trip to the grocery store, you can skip having to hold yourself back from making those impulse buys.
4. Keep a Log of the Items That You Discard
By keeping track of what you get rid of and comparing it to your grocery list, you can make more informed decisions to help you decide what you need to purchase the following week. If you throw out a serving of chili, consider freezing it next time and having a leftover night at the end of the week!