Reducing Waste: Tips to Maximize your Food Dollars

When feeding an active family, every bite counts! That’s why it’s hard to stomach the findings from a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. The report states the average family of four wastes 25 percent of its purchased food. Even more disheartening is that fruits and vegetables were the most wasted categories of food, with only 48% of what’s grown actually being eaten.

Wasting food isn’t just bad for our health and bad for the environment, it’s also bad for our wallets. The average family of four tosses $1,365 to $2,275 each year into the trashcan rather than into their mouths.

What can you do to prevent wasting precious calories and food dollars?

Plan ahead. Sit down one day each week and plan out what your family will eat so that you don’t over-purchase when you do your shopping.

Make two trips. If you’re buying a lot of fresh produce (good for you!), you may want to make two smaller trips to the store or the market each week instead of one large trip to prevent food from spoiling.

Skip the bulk. If an item doesn’t have a long shelf life, don’t buy it in bulk, even if it looks like a better deal. Remember, it’s not a deal if you end up throwing half of it away.

Serve small. When serving a meal, skip the heaping spoonfuls. Once you’ve started to eat something you’re more likely to throw it away than save it for tomorrow’s lunch. Remember, you can always go back for seconds if you’re still hungry.

Keep your fridge in check. At least once per week, do a spot check of your refrigerator. It’s easy for items to get pushed to the back and be forgotten, leading to spoilage. Keep an eye on your perishable items by storing them in the front of the fridge.

Freeze it. A loaf of bread, for example, can quickly turn moldy when left on the counter during the summertime, so stick it in the freezer right away and toast each slice when you’re ready to eat it. The same goes for fruits, vegetables, leftovers, and meats that quickly spoil.

Follow these simple kitchen and grocery store tips and you’ll be on your way to maximizing your food dollars each week! Share your favorite thrifty eating tip with us in the comments section below.

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