It is well-known that food waste is a significant problem on a global scale, that contributes to growing environmental issues, and impacts the wallets as well. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted, valued at a $1 trillion loss every year. The harm produced to the environment is linked both to food wastage and land spoiling, resulting in a bigger production of greenhouse gases. Furthermore, when you waste food you are wasting your money. However, approaching a more sustainable lifestyle and implementing some small, but smart habits, we can learn how to save excess food and some money too. Here are some suggestions to have a smarter approach to your food consumption.
The first and most simple advice we can give you is to create a shopping list for your week. Plan your meals ahead. Before going to the supermarket or the grocery shop, there is no need to create a 100% accurate plan, just have in mind which dishes you want to eat during the week; then plan your shopping based on that. Thanks to this small action you will buy just what you need, reducing the possibility of food spoiling or going unused.
Pro tip: if you go shopping when you are hungry you are more likely to buy food you do not need. Have a little snack before entering the shop to avoid impulse buying.
We suggest you organize your pantry, fridge, or freezer, using the FIFO method. This means placing newer items at the back and moving older ones to the front. By doing this, you will use up older items before they expire, reducing the chances of food going bad and being wasted.
Understanding how to store different types of food can significantly extend their shelf life. In particular, knowing how your fridge work can really help you to maximize your meal freshness.
You have to consider that the temperature in the fridge is cooler in the top part and it gets warmer in the bottom shelves. For that reason, the best way to keep your foods fresher and safer for a longer time is:
• Use the top drawer to store meat and fish that needs the coldest temperature to maintain their freshness;
• Leftovers, eggs, milk, and ready-to-eat foods (like yogurt and cheese) stay on the upper shelves;
• Lower shelves accommodate raw ingredients that need to be cooked;
• The bottom drawers are good to store veggies and fruits, thanks to their particular humidity;
• The door, the warmest part of the fridge, is good to store condiments and drinks.
Pro Tip: If you have a lot of leftovers, collect them and use them for a “Leftover Dinner”. Everybody will enjoy a piece of a different dish or the one they prefer. It will save you time, money and it will help the planet too.
If you have fruits or vegetables that are about to go bad, you can learn how to preserve them. Use ripe fruit to create jams, syrup or freeze it and use it for smoothies and juices. Overripe tomatoes and peppers are perfect to make sauces and chutneys. Additionally, you can pickle vegetables to extend their shelf life.
Be mindful of portion sizes when serving meals. Start with smaller portions, and if you or one of your diners wants more they will take a second. This little caution will reduce the likelihood of leftover food on plates.
Despite our best efforts, there will be some food waste that cannot be avoided, such as peels, cores, and scraps. You can use it either to make a veggie broth (check out our social for the recipe) or compost them. Create a small area in your backyard dedicated to it or use a composting service if available in your area. Composting not only save waste from landfills but it will also produce nutrient-rich soil for your garden.
In conclusion, reducing food waste at home doesn't have to be complicated or time-consuming. By planning your meals, practicing proper storage, repurposing leftovers, and composting food scraps, you can make a significant impact on both your budget and the environment. Remember, every small effort counts, and collectively, we can make a big difference in reducing food waste and building a more sustainable future. Start implementing these easy steps today, and you'll be amazed at how much money you can save while contributing to a greener planet. If you need a little extra help do not forget to check out the WIN Sustainably app, which helps you to save excess food in UAE, and join our community to learn more about sustainability and food savings. Let’s save the world one meal at a time!