(AscendHealthy.com) – Every year, nearly 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted in some way. That’s almost one-third of all the food produced in the world. But we can do our part to cut down on food waste in our lives and save money at the same time.
1. Shop Smart, and Don’t Overbuy
Many of us simply purchase too much food. Many items look good, or the amount seems too small, so more goes in the cart. It may also seem convenient to buy in bulk, but research shows that adds to the food waste problem — and it often doesn’t save much money, either. Make a list, plan frequent trips, and use up purchased food before re-buying. That equals spending and wasting less.
2. Store Food the Right Way
Improperly stored food may spoil much more quickly than food that’s stored well. For many people, storing food means putting it in the refrigerator because it’s believed to last longer. But that may actually hurt the longevity of certain types of food. For example, we should never refrigerate tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, and onions, as they’ll spoil faster if they aren’t kept at room temperature.
3. Pick Out the Imperfect Fruits and Veggies
Everyone at the grocery store seems to search the produce section for food that looks perfect. That’s not necessary and leads to a lot of food waste. Imperfect-looking foods are safe to eat, and choosing them will help stop them from being thrown away. Some stores also offer a discount on these products, saving money, as well.
4. Save Those Leftovers for Another Meal
Throwing out leftovers is common practice in many households, but there’s usually no reason they can’t be eaten a day or two later. Be sure to store them in a clear container near the front of the fridge, so they aren’t forgotten. That “lost in the clutter” problem in many refrigerators leads to a lot of food and financial waste.
5. Keep Portion Sizes Reasonable and Healthy
When shopping or preparing food, consider proper portion sizes. Many restaurants serve huge portions and have conditioned us to expect massive amounts of food. By cutting back to more nutritionally sound portions, food will go much further, and there won’t be a need to spend as much at the grocery store, either.
6. Make Full Use of the Freezer
Nearly all items can be frozen, and freezing keeps them from spoiling until they’re used later. Not only does that mean the food doesn’t go to waste, but it also means we’re not throwing money away by purchasing food only to throw it out. Depending on how the food will be used later, freezing it provides a lot of different options. Another option is to pre-cook meals to freeze and reheat later.
7. Understand What Expiration Dates Really Mean
Throwing out that food item that was “best by” three days ago probably isn’t necessary. These dates are arbitrary in that they aren’t regulated, and they’re generally a best guess by the manufacturer. Best-by dates are based on maximum quality and flavor, while use-by dates are more focused on product safety. Using good judgment as to safety and quality may help use up “expired” food.
8. Focus on Creativity in the Kitchen
Making something new may be a lot of fun, and so might adding a new twist to a favorite dish. Getting creative in the kitchen is an excellent way to make sure food gets used up as much as possible. It might not be avoidable to waste small amounts of food now and then, but some new recipe ideas may reduce that concern.
With some ingenuity and care, it may be easy to cut down on the amount of wasted food and the amount of money spent. Focusing on the tips above and looking for additional ways to waste less and save more may help all of us become more aware of our planet and our wallets.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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