Sharing 7 ways that you can reduce food waste in the kitchen, and at the grocery store!
Food waste is a huge problem globally, and it's estimated that 30% of all food is wasted. Not only is it sad to think about all of that food being wasted, but did you know that when uneaten food ends up in the landfill, it causes greenhouse gas emissions?
So what can we do about it? We can be the change we want to see in the world. If we collectively work together, we can make a movement to reduce food waste!
Today, I'm sharing seven actionable steps you can take to reduce food waste in the kitchen!
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1. Get organized
I am the queen of disorganized! My laundry migrates from the clean basket to the dirty, my desk is often covered in papers and my browser always has way too many tabs open at a time.
But in the kitchen I am organized. Because I have to be! If I am not organized, food gets wasted. Dinner plans never come together. Meals are a hot mess.
Kitchen organization tips to prevent food waste
- write a meal plan- Making a meal plan ensures you will only buy what you need, and won't end up with rotten produce at the end of the week. Here's How to Write a Meal Plan
- arrange your fridge- place items which will expire at the front of the fridge so you use them up first. You can also have a bin with 'use me first' items that you reach for when making a salad, cutting up for a stir fry etc.
- meal prep- on Sundays, I assess any produce that I haven't used up from the previous week, and chop it or spiralize it so that I use it up right away. When it's already chopped, I'm so much more likely to use it up.
We are SO fortunate because now in Calgary we have curb-side composting. TAKE THE TIME TO DO THIS if you have it available to you in your city. You are so lucky, and your action will make a difference!
I repeat: food that ends up in the landfill can cause greenhouse gas emmissions. Food that ends up in the compost breaks down and produces soil. Get that leftover food into the compost.
Don't have access to curb-side composting programs?
- collect scraps in the freezer for stocks/broth (see below)
- check to see if there is a community garden, farmer's market, or municipal composting program that will allow you to drop your scraps off
- start your own compost heap (it's easy!):
3. Make stock
With the rise of the Instant Pot, making your own homemade stock is just SO EASY. Save up your scraps in the freezer until you have enough to make stock!
Some ingredients I save for homemade stock
- herbs that will expire
- carrot peels, onion skins (unless they are moldy), carrot tops, celery leaves
- veggies that will expire before I can use them- recent example: bok choy
- bones from chicken
Looking for broth & stock recipes?
- Leftover Turkey Bone Broth (works great with chicken, but I use 2 chicken carcasses)
- Leftover Turkey Stock (again, works great with chicken or just straight up veggies)
Image via Imperfect Produce
4. Sign up for an Imperfect Produce Box
Now this is not something I've done, but I've seen many of my US blogger friends use this program and it looks great! Imperfect Produce will deliver the 'ugly' produce that grocery stores reject, and they do it for 30% off the normal price! Sounds like a great deal to me!
- Sign up for Imperfect Produce (US only)
- Canadians: Spud.ca has an organic imperfect produce section
- Looks like Misfits Ugly Produce may be coming to Canada at some point?
5. Give the 'best by' date a second look
Some people live and die by the best by date.
Me? I give it some grace.
- For meat, milk, yogurt, I live by the sniff test. You can always tell when it has expired!
- Cheese? I scrape mold off.
- The freezer? A little freezer burn does not scare me. In fact, sometimes food looks horribly freezer burned but you can't taste it at all.
6. Make better choices when eating out
Restaurant food waste is a huge problem! Portion sizes are ridiculously huge and often those leftovers are tossed. Here are a few ways you can make better choices to reduce food waste when eating out:
- bring home leftovers and actually eat them (bonus if you bring your own containers)
- split a meal with a friend
- pick restaurants which are involved in local food rescue operations
7. Don't be tempted by those deals
I mean this when it comes to perishable foods. For pantry items, I love buying in bulk because it reduces the packaging that the product uses. However when it comes to produce or dairy, that's another matter!
Don't be tempted to buy the family sized bag of tomatoes when you know you won't be able to get through them.
- buy smaller portions of shelf life ingredients
- try not to impulse shop (ordering groceries online is such a great way to avoid this!)
- freeze anything you can't get through- those leftover tomatoes would go great in soup or stock!
I hope this list was helpful! If you got one new idea, then I think it was a success.
One more thing. In the process of doing research for this post, I came across a cool website with a TON of ideas on how to reduce food waste. Check out I Value Food for some amazing ideas at reducing food waste, repurposing leftovers, setting up a compost, and so many more ideas!