We’ve all found that forgotten apple in the back of the refrigerator or had to throw away some moldy bread that wasn’t eaten in time.
1. Shop With a Grocery List
We all know how easy it is to overfill our carts when grocery shopping without a plan, especially on an empty stomach. You venture in for one item and walk out with a cart full of food, some of which ends up being thrown away.
Going to the market with a shopping list is one of the most important ways to ensure you buy only what you want and only the amount you need.
Set aside a few minutes each week to plan your meals and create a grocery list. This list will make shopping easier, reduce food waste, and set you up for meal prep success throughout the week.
2. Pick Produce in Season, or Extend the Life of Seasonal Foods
With watermelon available in the winter and pumpkins in the spring, agriculture science has come a long way in recent years. But believe it or not, farmers have not outsmarted the seasons. Out-of-season fruits and vegetables found in stores are often shipped, driven, and flown thousands of miles before they end up in your shopping basket.
|Foods||Shelf Life When Frozen|
|Cooked meat dishes||2 to 3 months|
|Pineapples||10 to 12 months|
|Winter squash||10 to 12 months|
|Greens||10 to 12 months|
3. Buy Staple Items in Bulk
Most people avoid this aisle in the grocery store—you know which one I mean, the one with the large containers of food you have to bag yourself. But it’s great.
These staple foods last a long time, especially if you keep them in an airtight package. They also tend to cost less than their individually packaged counterparts. So why not reduce your packages and avoid the extra waste?
Pro Tip: Bring large, reusable glass jars to avoid using plastic bags. Have the cashier weigh the jars at the counter before filling them in the bulk section so you’re not paying for the jar.
4. Know Your ‘Use By’ Versus ‘Sell By’ Dates
“Use by” dates, on the other hand, are an estimation of the expiration date. Expiration dates should be used to determine how long the food will stay fresh, but are often very conservative. It’s usually estimated at a few days before the food actually may expire. What’s the best way to tell if a food has gone bad? Do the “sight and smell” test by checking for mold or growth and smelling the item for odors.