Tips for Reducing Food Waste
It is estimated that the average Canadian household wastes between 500 to 750 grams of food per person a day, or about $1,500 a year. This accounts for about half of the food waste in Canada. The rest comes from the farm, food manufacturers, retailers and restaurants. For a total waste of close to $27 billion dollars. You may not be able to help when it comes to industry but you can reduce the waste you have at home with a few simple steps.
Tips to help you reduce the food you waste at home:
- Shop with a list. Know what you have and what you need.
- Figure out how many meals you will be cooking and take into account restaurant meals so you don’t over purchase.
- Keep track of what you tend to throw out often. Buy less of that item or consider using it a different way before it goes bad. Buy smaller bags of lettuce or make croutons with your stale bread. Slice leftover lemons or limes into rounds and freeze them to use as a flavoured ice cube in water. Chop leftover fresh herbs, blend with a small about of olive oil or water and freeze in ice cube trays.
- Eat foods in order of how quickly they spoil. Berries and fresh herbs before carrots and melons.
- Serve less food on kid’s plates or allow family members serve themselves according to their appetite. If you have a dog, you can serve dinner scraps (leftover vegetables and lean meat or fish) to them.
- Be creative with foods that are not perfect but still fresh enough to eat. Grill softer wrinkled skin bell peppers on the BBQ, blend soft or mushy tomatoes for pasta sauce or mix them with tomato paste for pizza sauce. Use overripe bananas in muffin recipes or smoothies.
- Use all parts of the plant. Use broccoli butts in stir fry, grated onto salad or for dog food. Use poultry bones for soup stock, blend beet greens or kale into pesto sauce, use the last of your yogurt tub in muffin mixes.
- Repurpose your leftovers into new meals the next day. If you don’t plan on using them in the next 2 days, freeze them. If you find you are never using up your leftovers, start cooking less so you don’t have leftovers.
- Be sure your fridge is cold enough. 4 degrees F is the appropriate fridge temperature to keep food fresh and safe.
- Make a kitchen sink stir fry or soup with your leftover tidbits of vegetables the day before you do your grocery shopping. Use the last celery stalk, carrot, half onion and fresh herbs. While you’re at it, give your fridge and crispers a wipe and pull forward the leftovers that still need using (use leftovers within 3-4 days max).