There are so many reasons to reduce food waste. You may want to save money, the environment, reduce hunger, or all three – or maybe you have your own reasons.
We hear you. We’re with you. And we want to help!
That’s why we created this article with 10 simple ways to reduce food waste.
According to Love Food Hate Waste Canada:
“One-third of all food produced globally is wasted and 47% of the value of food wasted in Canada can be attributed to households. Shocking, eh?”
Can you guess which type of food is wasted the most? Which type of food comprises almost one-third of all those tonnes of food wasted each year?
The answer: veggies – the original health foods and staples of all quality diets!
As nutritionists, we want to help stop this. We want more vegetables in you, not in the trash, so here are our ten simple (nutritionist-approved) ways to help you reduce your food waste (and eat those veggies).
10 WAYS TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE
1) Smart grocery shopping
Reduce, reuse, recycle – in that order. The first place to reduce food waste is by reducing the amount you buy.
How can we grocery shop the smart way?
- Plan your meals. Knowing what you’re going to eat and being prepared can be half the battle. This way you can make your grocery list around what food you’re planning to eat in the next few days or week instead of haphazardly buying things that you may not eat.
- Check your cupboards, fridge, and freezer before making your grocery list so you don’t buy more of what you already have.
- When at the store, stick with your list and avoid impulse buys. (Pro Tip: have a healthy snack before you go shopping – when you’re hungry you may be tempted to buy more food or more “junky” food than if you shop while you’re full).
- Buy the amount of food you need. If you need four apples, don’t buy a huge bag of them. Bulk can be great, but only if you’re going to eat it before it goes bad.
- Buy (and use) not-so-perfect produce. Use bananas with brown spots to make banana bread, energy bites, chia pudding, or a smoothie; cut off those bruises and use the rest of the apple to make a crumble, cookies, or oat cups.
- Buy frozen produce. If you’re not going to eat a carton of berries or a bag of fresh shrimp, buy them frozen so you can keep them for next time.
- Consider shopping more frequently and buying less each time. This means that you’re getting fresher produce that you’ll use up in a few days, instead of having it linger around your kitchen for too long.
2) Store your food properly
A lot of waste is simply from improper storage of food. Anything that’s refrigerated or frozen in the store needs to be refrigerated or frozen at home. Plus, some things need to be refrigerated after they’re opened.
Here are some tips on proper food storage:
- Make sure your packages are sealed properly.
- Read your labels to make sure you refrigerate foods if necessary after being opened.
- Make sure your fridge is no higher than 4C and your freezer is no higher than 0C.
- For a bunch more food storage tips, see this link on Safe Food Storage.
3) Mind your dates
There’s a difference between a “best before” date and “expiry” date.
Best before date – If the food was properly stored, the unopened product should be of high quality until the “best before” date.
Expiry date – After an expiry date, the food may not have the same nutrition that’s listed on the label and should not be bought, sold, or eaten. This is legit food waste – don’t risk it.
For more information on date labelling of foods, see this link on Date Labelling on Pre-packaged Foods.
Pro Tip: If you have some foods that are getting closer to these dates and there is no way you’re going to use them all in time, consider donating them to a food bank (if they’re non-perishable). Many grocery stores collect donated foods for local food banks.
4) Avoid cluttered appliances and cupboards
Sometimes you have food that you don’t even know you have because it’s nicely tucked in behind that jar of pickles in the fridge, or those cans in your cupboard. Keeping things a bit neater and more organized can help you be sure that you’ll know exactly where to look for (and find) those foods when you need to.
Need some inspo? Check out how these wellness experts organize and stock their fridges.
5) Use up the food you have
Easier said than done, we know!
That’s why we pulled a list of our favourite recipes that use up the food you have:
- Veggies in this Kitchen Sink Scramble
- Cucumbers, try these Spicy & Sweet Refrigerator Cucumbers
- Zucchini in these Fritters or Quiche
- Almost anything can be added to smoothies if you use this “perfect smoothie ratio”
- Add berries, fruit, cucumber, mint to water
- Greens, veggies, protein – throw into a salad
- Oats, why not make a face mask
6) Don’t serve or order too much
Have you ever noticed that “your eyes are bigger than your stomach” sometimes?
That’s why one of our ways to reduce food waste is to serve realistic portions to family and guests, and do the same when you’re at their homes or in a restaurant.
If you find you accidentally have too much on your plate – and let’s face it, we all do sometimes – consider sharing with others at the table or even packing them up. Don’t stuff yourself because the food is right in front of you, respect your fullness and opt for leftovers.
7) Speaking of leftovers…
Save them, store them properly, and eat them. Pack them for lunch the next day, or heat them up for tomorrow’s dinner.
Maybe declare a “leftover” day each week where you don’t cook. Instead, go through the prepared foods you already have and finish off what you can.
8) Choose simple recipes with few ingredients
How many times have you bought a fancy ingredient for a recipe and never used it again? Maybe it was a herb or spice, or something a bit more exotic that you wanted to try, but it just hasn’t become a staple in your home.
This is one of the amazing benefits that Naughty Nutrition had in mind when creating the N5Diet.
Yep – you guessed it – amongst other things the “five” in N5Diet stands for five ingredients or less! Not only does this programme help combat food waste by using a few simple ingredients for each recipe, but a portion of all of the profits goes to support The Daily Bread Food Bank to help reduce hunger and tackle greenhouse gas emission and food waste. Win-win-win.
You can start simplifying your health today by downloading your free 5-Ingredient Cookbook with some of our favourite N5Diet recipes below.
9) Responsibly get rid of food waste
Even if we reduce our food waste as much as possible using tips 1-8, we might still have some food waste. So, how do you responsibly get rid of legit food waste?
- Compost as much as you can. If you have a municipal compost collection that’s great. If not, you can grab a backyard composter (if you have a yard). Or even try worm composting.
- Re-use what you can in your garden. Some plants love coffee grounds, eggshells, or peels from bananas and oranges.
10) Help share these ways to reduce food waste
The more the merrier right? If we all do our part we can reduce food waste everywhere to help save money, the environment, and help reduce hunger. Go ahead and share this post with your friends and family to help them reduce their food waste too.
There are so many great reasons to reduce food waste! We compiled our top 10 simple recommendations to help.
Which tips are your favourite? What other tips do you have?
We’d love to know in the comments below!
And don’t forget to download your 5-Ingredient Cookbook below.
Meal Garden Professional is a platform for Nutritional Practitioners to provide their clients with interactive meal plans - easily accessible & customizable across all devices. We empower Professionals to serve more clients more effectively with our digital health algorithm and very granular nutrition and ingredient database - making it quick & easy to design custom diet programs.