Reducing Food Waste When Cooking at Home

stir fry

Gain more by wasting less! Practicing a few, smart habits in the kitchen can help you waste less food, spend less money, and help the Earth! As a community, it is important to make a conscious effort to minimize food waste, while still making nutritious, healthy choices. What can you do to ensure the most from your food? 

 

Listed below are some ways that you can help reduce food waste when cooking at home. 

  • Make a plan. Reducing food waste starts before you even go to the grocery store! Make a list of meals you plan to make for the week, to prevent buying items you don’t need, as well as, save time and money. Try to include quantities when writing your shopping list to avoid overbuying. When buying perishables, such as fresh fruit, vegetables, or meat, buy the amount that can be eaten within a few days or frozen and used later.   

  • Store fruits and vegetables properly. Properly-stored produce will stay fresh longer and taste better. Learn which fruits and vegetables are best stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. In addition, some fruits are best stored separately, such as unripe bananas, because they emit natural gases that speed up the ripening process of other fruits and vegetables nearby. Check out this handy infographic from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for more information on the proper way to store fresh produce! 

  • Store foods strategically. It can be easy to forget what food you have in your fridge or pantry.  Put items that spoil faster in a visible, eye-level section of your refrigerator to remind you to eat them. Try to keep your refrigerator organized and clutter-free, so perishable items don’t get pushed to the back to spoil.  Likewise, organize items that have a closer expiration date towards the front of the pantry to be used up first.  

  • Be creative when using leftover ingredients.  Find ways to repurpose your leftover food in new meals. For example, roasted vegetables can be incorporated in a breakfast scramble, while leftover chicken can be added to enchiladas or salads. Casseroles, frittatas, smoothies, soups, and stir-fries are also great ways to use leftovers.   

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