How to Prevent Food Waste
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How to Prevent Food Waste

Posted on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011 at 2:12 pm
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Do you ever feel like your throwing away too much food? Here's some tips on how you can prevent food waste and save money on your future grocery bills. Do you ever feel like your throwing away too much food? Unfortunately, throwing away food is like throwing away money and no one wants to do that. So, here are some tips on how you can prevent food waste and save money on your future grocery bills.

Tips to Stop Wasting Food

While You’re Grocery Shopping…

Nipping food waste in the bud starts at the grocery store. When you’re grocery shopping, be sure to follow these tips in order to prevent food waste down the road.

  • Shop with a list. I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but shopping with a list and meal plans is essential to avoiding food waste. Double check the fridge and pantry before you put anything on your list so you don’t end up with unneeded extras.
  • Plan ahead! Make sure you will have time to cook what you buy. If your schedule is busy that week, you’ll want to adjust your shopping list accordingly.
  • Only buy bulk items that you know you will use, or that you know will store well until you use them. Learn how to buy in bulk here.
  • Try not to shop when you’re hungry. You’ll be much more likely to make impulse buys on an empty stomach, but many of those impulse buys end up in the trash later on.
  • Keep a list of what you throw away. If you notice you’re throwing a specific item away often, remove it from your grocery list next time.
  • Shop more often and buy less. This way, you’re sure to have time to use everything before it goes bad.


When You’re at Home…

Preventing food waste doesn’t stop at the grocery store. There are more ways to stop food waste at home by following these preventative steps.

  • Organize, organize, organize! The key to preventing food waste is having an organized fridge. When you don’t know what’s hiding behind the gallon of milk and stack of sodas, it’s likely it will go bad and eventually get thrown out. A good way to organize your fridge is by expiration date – food that is about to expire should be front and center, while foods that will last for a while should go towards the back.
  • Keep an inventory of what’s in your fridge so that you always know exactly what’s buried in there. This will also help you make your grocery shopping list and avoid buying doubles of things.
  • Utilize your freezer. If you realize you aren’t going to get to something before it goes bad, stick it in the freezer before it’s too late! Freezer cooking is also a good way to prevent food waste.
  • Maintain your refrigerator and keep it at the proper food storage temperature (around 38-39 degrees).
  • Understand the labels. Just because a product is marked “best by” or “sell by,” doesn’t mean it is untouchable after that date. Learn more about expiration dates here.


…And Even After It’s Expired

Just because something has expired doesn’t mean it has to go in the trash. You can prevent food waste (even though you can’t eat it anymore) by putting your expired goods to a better use. You might consider creating a compost pile in your yard for a healthier garden, or you can purchase an in-home compost system. Treat the dogs to a little something special (considering it isn’t too spoiled). Or, find other creative ways to reuse your expired food. Growing up, my mom would take me to feed the ducks our stale bread. Old lemon works well for freshening up the garbage disposal … use your imagination. 🙂



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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.