Here are 6 easy ways how to reduce food waste at home and save money for your family. learning the basics of minimizing food wastage can help in eliminating the problem of involuntary hunger.
Shocking Global Stats on Food Wastage
Did you know that global food wastage is estimated at 1.6 BILLION tons annually? In the Philippines, on rice alone, each Filipino wastes 2.3kg every year. Multiply that by a hundred million and we can see that the problem of food waste, both globally and domestically, is so severe.
Ironically, incidences of involuntary hunger continue to rise especially in the Philippines. And as we battle the Covid-19 pandemic and its concomitant disruption on the economy, the Philippines and other countries throughout the world could see dramatic increases of involuntary hunger.
That is why it is very important to minimize food waste. Every bit of food we waste everyday could mean that it is slowly chipping away some of our hard earned resources.
It is also equally important to learn strategies that will prevent food waste at the household level. If we know how to reduce food waste, then we can save a lot of money for the long term.
So, here are some very basic and easy to do steps to prevent wasting our food at home.
6 Easy and Simple Ways to Reduce Food Waste at home
1 Before buying food in the market or grocery store, make it a habit to shop your refrigerator first. Open your fridge and take a look at the available food in your stock. Make sure to utilize first whatever is in your refrigerator before buying additional stocks.
Check each food item in your fridge to see which ones you should cook first. Vegetables that are already limp but have no signs of spoilage are still edible. You cannot make a proper salad but you can season your veggies with spices and herbs to make them tasty and appetizing.
2 Make a meal plan for each day. Your meal plan should not last a week in order to minimize the risk of food wastage. There are lots of free resources online that could help you make a proper meal plan. There are also tons of mobile apps on Google Play and Apple Store which you can use to easily create a family meal plan.
3 Make a grocery list based on your meal plan. This is to avoid impulse buying which is a sure recipe for wasting food. Remember, you may not be able to use some of the food stuff you bought on impulse. You can also save a great deal if you limit your food shopping based on your household’s meal plan.
The best thing to do when grocery shopping is to itemize your list. Make a list for meat, poultry, vegetables, fruits, and condiments. This is to ensure that you will not buy more than what you need.
4 Ensure that foods are stored properly. Place fresh vegetables in the dry bin food container of your refrigerator. Do not place these vegetables in enclosed plastics as this may accelerate spoilage.
Pork and beef meat, fish, chicken and similar food items must be frozen immediately. Maintain the ideal zero degree centigrade of your freezer. Freezing is an ideal method of extending the shelf life of fresh meat and poultry products.
Most importantly, apportion meat products before storage. You have to allocate cut portions based on your meal plan. This is to ensure that you will not thaw huge chunks of meat produce unnecessarily. Take note that constant thawing and freezing is bad practice as this will accelerate spoilage.
TIP: Buy plenty of food-grade small food keepers or containers. Place portions of cut meat in the container and stack them properly inside the freezer. So when you cook food, it would be more convenient for you to just take out one food keeper from the freezer instead of thawing big chunks of meat.
5 Always check the expiry dates of your food items, especially on processed foods. Make sure to follow the “best before” label in order to fully enjoy the true flavor and taste of your food.
6 Learn other ways of food preservation. You can marinade meat in vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic. You can also try drying some of the excess fish in your inventory or just marinate it to extend its life for a few days. If you have time, you can also learn basic bottling and canning of food stuff.
Help End Hunger by Reducing Food Waste
I’m sure there are other ways of preventing food wastage in your household. You can experiment with other methods that are more convenient for your situation.
Food waste is a perennial global problem that contributes greatly to world hunger. You can help eliminate this problem by taking conscious steps on preventing food waste in your home. And if you are consciously reducing food wastage, you are actually saving more money for your family.
Sources: 1. http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/196402/icode/ 2. https://wwf.org.ph/what-we-do/food/thesustainablediner/savour-planet-2019-new-theme/ 3. https://www.worldbank.org