It is estimated that Australians throw out $8 billion worth of food every year, 33 percent of which consists of fresh produce, 27 percent is leftover food, packaged items account for 15 percent, frozen food and drinks are nine percent, and seven percent of wasted food comes in the form of takeaway. Admit it or not, we’re all guilty of food wastage. Here are 14 kitchen hacks to minimise food waste:
Check the Best Before Date
Keep in mind that the “best before date” means that food is still safe to eat even a few days after the date specified.
1. Plan your meals
Meal planning is a powerful step to stop food wastage. This enables you to know which items are already in your fridge and pantry, and buy only the ingredients that you need.
2. Check the fridge and pantry before grocery shopping
Food wastage can come from having a lot of the same ingredients only because you didn’t check what you already have.
3. Create a shopping list and stick to it
Resist the temptation of buying things that you don’t need for that week, based on your meal plan. Saving money on groceries entails sticking to your list.
4. Minimise the number of trips to the supermarket
It’s very likely that you’ll buy more items every time you go grocery shopping, so make sure to avoid doing it several times a week.
5. Understand what expiry labels mean
Keep in mind that the “best before date” means that food is still safe to eat even a few days after the date specified. The “use by date” means that food should be eaten on or before the date indicated.
6. Store fruits and vegetables properly
Know the right way to store different kinds of produce. Also, eat the most perishable items first.
7. Don’t throw overripe fresh produce
Use overripe fruits to make ice cream or smoothies. Make banana cakes, or pasta sauce if you have a lot of soft tomatoes.
8. Store cooked meals the right way
Don’t put hot food in the fridge. Transfer your cooked meal into containers and let it cool first.
9. Freeze fruits and vegetables
Freezing is a great way to store seasonal produce that you can use in the off-season.
10. Use vegetable scraps to make stock
Put all onion peelings, stalks, carrot tops, and leaves in a ziploc bag and store it in the freezer, then take it out when you need some vegetable stock.
11. Eat leftovers
All you need to do is store any leftover food in the freezer and just reheat it.
12. Be mindful of serving portions
Start with smaller portion sizes. You can go for a second helping if you want more food.
13. Consider making a compost
Throw kitchen scraps in the compost pit and you’ll soon have healthy soil where you can grow your own vegetables.
14. Keep a waste log
Know what you’re throwing out so you can prevent doing the same in the future.
Got other tips on how to save money on food? Share your grocery shopping ideas in the comments section.