Guest post by marketing intern, Kelly Bryant
Did you know that Americans throw out about 40% of the food they buy each year? The typical family of four could waste up to $2,200 per year in food costs—that’s a total of $100 billion annually across the nation!
You work hard to earn and keep your money—buying generic when you can, getting a free checking account that pays you back, keeping a close eye on your bank statements—but all of these saving efforts can’t make much of a dent if almost half of your food ends up in the garbage instead of your belly. Think about the money you waste re-buying items you had to throw out!
To help you keep more money in your banking account and less down the drain, keep reading.
3 easy ways to reduce your food waste
1. Use food-preservation-friendly containers: Fresh produce is a big contributor to avoidable waste. Ziploc, Pyrex, and Rubbermaid are all introducing containers that keep food fresh with vents that allow air to circulate and crisp trays that lift produce up and away from moisture.
2. Date everything: Whether you didn’t finish your pasta dish or just cut up some fruit from the market, always label foods you put in the refrigerator. We most often forget how old items are and, “just to be safe,” end up throwing away tons of food. If you’re unsure about something, smell it, look at it, or check out this chart from FoodSafety.gov to see the average life span of a variety of refrigerated foods.
3. Eat your leftovers: According to the Wall Street Journal, vegetables are the most commonly wasted food, accounting for 25% of avoidable waste. However, they are actually one of the easiest foods to reuse in soups and stews once we know how to repurpose them. Think beyond veggies when it comes to leftovers too. Instead of neglecting your leftovers because they may seem unappetizing or visually unappealing, think about leftovers before you cook, and plan a couple different meals out of the same dish. Try dedicating one or two nights a week to leftover dinners to ensure you are making the most out of your food purchases. Need recipes? Check out BBC Good Food and MNN. They have some great recipes designed specifically for leftovers.
Remember, food in the trash = money in the trash. You wouldn’t throw away 40% of your paycheck every month, so don’t do the same with your groceries! If you have other tips on re-using food and reducing grocery waste, share them in the comments!