Plan, Shop, and Chop to Reduce Food Waste

By Melanie Stewart

If you were one of the millions of people who made a resolution, there’s a decent chance it involved being healthier, and that often starts with eating more fruits and vegetables, and less pre-packaged foods.

In January we talked about the crazy amount of food that is wasted; the amount of money we spend on food we never eat, the resources that it took to produce that food, and amount of space in the landfill it takes up.  We also provided resources on decipher dates on food packaging as well as food storage tips.

As noted, it’s easy to buy good food but then they go south once they are out of sight, out of mind.  How can you prevent this, and save yourself some money?  LiveGreen and the NRDC have some tips:

  • Meal plan. Be honest about when you are going to cook, how many people you will be feeding, and what those people will actually eat.
  • Make a list and stick to it. It’s shocking to me that only 25% of Americans go to the store with a list?!  The good news: those that do spend less, make less impulse buys, and make fewer trips to the store.  That’s a win-win-win!
  • If you only need small quantities of certain items, only buy that quantity.
    • Consider stores that have dry goods in bulk bins allowing you to measure out only what you need/can store.
    • You can also use the salad bar to get a variety of (pre-chopped!) veggies for a specific recipe. It may cost a little more, but it’s cheaper than buying a dozen different vegetables and only eating half.
    • Check the fine print; even if the sale says you get 5 for $5, you often don’t have to purchase that many to get the discounted price.
  • Buy “Ugly Fruits and Vegetables.” The imperfections are cosmetic, the nutrition is the same, and if they aren’t purchased, the store trashes them.
  • Try the “Shop and Chop”: when you come home for the store, items that need to be prepped don’t go into the fridge until they are washed and cut. Your strawberries are easy to grab and take to work with you in the morning…we both know it won’t happen when trying to wrangle everyone out the door.

These few easy tips can keep your healthy eating on the right track and keeping your pocketbook happy.

photo credit: freeimages.com/ramzihashisho

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