This post is sponsored by GLAD.
Did you know that the average Canadian wastes over $175 per year on produce spoilage?
If you follow my blog, then you already know that I hate throw out food. For example, I recently wrote about how to use up bits of puff pastry that were leftover from a recipe I made. I also have a recipe on how to make a smoothie with leftover grilled peaches. I would much rather eat leftover food rather than throw it out!
So when GLAD asked me to participate in the #GLADFreshFoodChallenge, it seemed like a no-brainer to me. The goal was to cut back on food waste for at least two weeks, and GLAD sent me some of their products to help me accomplish this goal.
I have to say, I think I did pretty well. We don’t throw out a lot of food at my house to begin with, but, some weeks are better than others. Taking this challenge helped me identify some ways to reduce food waste, and I want to share my best tips with you.
10 Ways To Reduce Food Waste:
1. Only buy what you need.
This seems obvious, but it’s so easy to make impulse purchases when you’re at the grocery. Your best bet is to use a meal planner to help you figure out what you need to buy. Then make a shopping list, and stick to it! Don’t go to the grocery when you’re hungry either – you’ll want to buy everything that looks tasty.
2. Use what you have at home before you buy more.
Take a quick inventory of your fridge and cupboard before you go the store. This will help prevent you from buying similar or duplicate items.
3. Check the expiry dates on discounted grocery items.
It’s a common practice for groceries to reduce items that are about to expire. If you know that you will use up the product before it spoils, then you can buy it. Otherwise, it’s better to purchase an item that will last as long as you need it.
4. Substitute ingredients you have, for ingredients you’d have to buy.
My brother often makes a pasta dish that calls for Boursin cheese. That cheese is expensive, so we don’t usually have any in the house. We do keep herb & garlic cream cheese on hand though, so we use that instead. The dish turns out great every time.
5. Learn how to properly clean and trim vegetables.
If you’re not doing this properly, you might be wasting a lot of your produce. Some fruits and veggies need to be peeled, others don’t. Some need to have a lot of the stem cut off, while others only require a small trim off the bottom. If you need this kind of info, The Kitchn.com is a good starting point.
6. Prepare your ingredients when you bring them home.
If you take the time to wash and prep your produce, you’ll be more likely to use them. Let’s say you buy your groceries on Sunday. If you wash and chop your veggies when you bring them home, they’ll be convenient to use during the week. Juicy fruits and veggies should be stored in a leakproof zippered bag to prevent messy spills in your fridge. The GLAD Food Storage Zipper Bags are a better option than sandwich bags because they are more durable.
7. If you bought too much, share it.
Sometimes we plan on making a dish, and then life happens. If you bought a bushel of tomatoes for soup, and suddenly have no time to make soup, don’t let them rot on your counter. Call up a friend or family member, and ask them if they’d like some of what you’ve got.
8. If you’re not going to eat it, donate it.
Let’s say that you wanted to try a new brand of soup. You bought two cans, heated one up and then realized you’ve made a terrible mistake. What do you do with the other can? Well, just because you didn’t like doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. Instead of tossing that perfectly good product into the garbage, give it to your local food bank. Of course, this only applies is the product is within its expiry date. You should never donate expired food. Ever.
9. Store your foods properly.
It’s important to store food, especially leftover food, properly to avoid spoilage. For example, if you’re going to freeze meat, don’t rely on the original packaging to protect it from freezer burn. Instead, put it in a zipper bag made for freezers, or wrap the meat in a protective film like Glad’s Press‘n Seal wrap.
10. Eat your leftovers.
I feel silly having to say this, but apparently there are people who just don’t eat leftovers. The idea of throwing out food, just because you don’t want to eat the same thing twice, sounds crazy to me. Who has money to waste like that?? If you really don’t want to eat the same meal twice, get creative! Fry leftover boiled potatoes into a tasty hash. Stuff a pita with leftover roasted chicken and pack it for lunch. Your options are endless. Just be sure to put your leftovers in an airtight container, or in a bowl covered with ClingWrap, and put them in the fridge as soon as possible. That way, they will be fresh and tasty, and ready for your next dish.
Do you have any tips on how to prevent food waste? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!
This post is sponsored by GLAD. All opinions are my own.
All statistics were provided by GLAD.