Don't waste it! Plan, reuse and save!

On average, American households waste 14 percent of their food purchases. That is a huge amount if your household matches the average. This means that for every $100 you spend on your groceries, $14 worth of it turns into wasted food.
By learning a few tips and techniques, you can cut down on food wastage, and possibly even completely eliminate your food wasting habits.

1 Good Meal Planning
As mentioned in the article "Grocery Shopping on a Budget", meal planning is one of the most important ways to reduce your food wastage. Before shopping, plan every meal for the week and write the shopping list accordingly. This should prevent you from buying foods that will not be used, and therefore, not ending the week with excess garbage. When planning your meals, consider how much time you will have available for meal preparation in order to ensure that it is realistic for you to stick to the plans.
Be sure to check your fridge and freezer before writing your shopping list. There may be some items that you already have, or there may be some leftover produce that you could make use of by adjusting the meal plans.

2 Keep the Fridge in Order
To ensure good food waste management, clean and organize your fridge often. This way, you will be aware of what food you have leftover, and what needs to be used quickly. Keep the older produce towards the front so that it gets used first. Dedicate one shelf to leftovers, again with the older items in the front.

3 Food Waste Log
Keep a food waste log on the fridge. Every time you throw out food, write down what it is and estimate it's cost. You will soon learn which foods you are buying too much of and how much it is costing you. Start adjusting your shopping list accordingly, and work on reducing the costs of your food waste.

4 Food Approaching Best Before Date
It is important to consume this food before it goes bad. The first approach would be to attempt to use the soon to be bad food in an upcoming meal. With vegetables, you could consider cooking and storing them in a container. This will give you a few more days in which to use them. Milk, meat, bread, berries, and leftovers from previous dinners can all be frozen.

5 Using Leftovers
No matter how well you plan, you may still end up with leftovers from your dinners. Should this be the case, be sure to immediately place them in covered containers and store. If you plan to eat the leftovers within a few days, put them on your “leftover shelf” in the fridge. Otherwise, store them in the freezer for use within a few weeks.

6 Leftover Night
One way to get rid of leftovers is to have a weekly leftover night. All the leftovers that you have accumulated in the week can be served buffet style. You may need to cook a couple of additional items depending on how much leftovers you have, but this would still be an excellent way of using up all your old food and cutting down on food wastage.

7 Keep the Freezer in Order
Even in the freezer, food will eventually go bad. Although the frozen foods will last a while, it is still a good idea to occasionally use up all this food from time to time. This way, you won’t have frozen items at the bottom of your freezer slowly going to waste.

8 Canned and Dried Foods
As with the foods in the fridge, keep the older canned and dried foods at the front of your shelves and cupboards to ensure that they get used. These foods do have a long shelf life, but they don't last forever. When you open packets of dry food, nuts, flour, grains, etc. seal the packets tightly or transfer to air tight containers. Otherwise, the food may go stale or attract bugs.

9 Save the Bread
There are plenty of options for soon-to-be bad bread. If you have not already frozen it and the bread has gone stale but without traces of mold, consider using it to make croutons, bread crumbs, or even french toast.

10 Broths
If you have vegetable or meat scraps, you can use them to make a broth. They are easy to make and can be used in soups and stews amongst other things. It is also an excellent way to cut down on food waste.


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