According to the Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion ton — gets lost or wasted! This is staggering statistics. It´s even more disturbing when you consider that hunger kills more people annually than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. And, if global food waste was a country, it would be the third largest generator of green house gases in the world, after China and the United States.
As most people I am guilty of throwing away food once in a while. I try to keep it to a minimum, and I find that good planning and to follow some ground rules makes it way easier to minimize my waste. Our food system is broken, but luckily people are getting more and more engaged in the important steps we all need to take towards fixing it. Because we can still fix it.
We can all make a difference and here are my best tips for you to waste less food on a daily basis. What´s in it for you? You save money, you eat healthier and you save time. So this is what I like to call a win win situation.
- Plan ahead
As a spontaneous person I know this one can be challenging, but your meal plan doesn’t need to be elaborate, it just has to be detailed enough to steer you past the convenience foods and keep you focused on buying only what you need. Plan as many meals as you can on Sunday eve or Monday morning. Check your refrigerator and pantry and make a list of the things you need to buy before you get to the store. Buying what you need rather than what catches your eye means you’re not just going to throw stuff in your cart and hope to make a meal of it.
Get the grocery shopping done on Monday and you will feel relived for the rest of the week.
- Check your fridge and pantry
Going through your fridge and pantry properly before shopping will save you both money and waste. Everyone’s had that experience of buying something you already had. If you organize your fridge with the oldest food at the front you’ll use it up first. And don’t toss anything just because it’s nearing its best before date. Things don’t necessarily go bad the next day.
- Get creative with leftovers
There is a reason why the older generation made so many soups and casseroles- they are the perfect way of using the not so pretty but very nutritious ingredients that are hiding in the back of your fridge. You don´t necessary need to use a recipe. It´s hard to go wrong with a bowl of soup.
If you make a large portion of food for dinner, it´s almost always great to use it for lunch the day after. A great bonus is the time you save. And if you still have leftover ingredients you don´t know how to handle, I recommend using Mr, Google to find amazing food waste sites like this one: Love Food Hate Waste, which focuses on raising awareness on food waste and provides a handy “Everyday Perfect Portions” planner to calculate meal sizes.
The Norwegian book “ Restekjærlighet” is also an amazing source on how to make the most out of leftovers.
- Store Food the right way
Don’t let food spoil. Refrigerate leftovers promptly and use them up quickly. Also, maximize the shelf life of different foods. Certain products, such as apples and broccoli, are best kept chilled, but others, including garlic, peaches and tomatoes, spoil faster in the fridge. Read David Suzuki’s informative tips for food storage.
- Give don´t waste
If you´re travelling and your fridge is full or if for other reasons you can´t use your food, consider donating it to a local shelter, food bank or just a friend that needs it.
- Be sure you need all of it when buying in bulk.
Though buying in bulk is economical and requires less packaging, be careful not to get more than you need, especially with perishables. You’re not saving money if they end up in the trash. If you´re having a party or you stock you up on things you know your family and you use a lot of, buying in bulk is a good option.
The average family’s household garbage is about 40 percent organic waste. By composting, you’re not only keeping food scraps out of a landfill but also providing nutrient-rich food for your plants.
Useful apps to reduce food waste:
♥Love Food Hate Waste
♥Love your leftovers
♥Too Good To Go
Let´s work together to reduce food waste.
With Purpose & Pepper