It’s all fine and well to avoid food waste at work or school, but when it comes down to it, it’s what happens at home that causes the real problems. Stopping food wastage is something that requires real effort. For example, even though you may not feel like eating that leftover tuna casserole, you need to bite the bullet and consume what you have first before producing another meal or ordering takeout. Don’t know how to cook? The best thing you can do is to familiarise yourself with some basic favorite dishes to save you time and money. And guess what? Not eating at restaurants helps indirectly avoid food wastage because of how much they throw away at the end of the day.
Avoiding food waste at home just requires a little bit of effort, but once you get into the habit, you won’t ever look back. For example, one way of avoiding wasted vegetables is to make delicious homemade stock for soups. Most anything can go in there, like clean carrot peels, onion skins, even broccoli stalks. You can also use bones, both cooked and raw. For example, if you’re buying a whole chicken at the butcher, ask them to break it down for you but to leave the carcass for soup.
Using your freezer for more than just ice cream is a fantastic way to avoid wasting food. If you can tell that you aren’t going to be eating a dish because you made too much of it, pop it in a glass jar and throw it in the freezer for later use. It’s helpful to label your jars as frozen foods tend to look a lot alike. Similarly, it is recommended that you freeze your sliced bread as it toasts perfectly. Some people also freeze their milk, which is not something we recommend, but give it a try if you like. Other products that can be frozen are butter and fresh, cleaned greens.
Eating leftovers is an obvious but rarely implemented way of not wasting food. Instead of packing a sandwich to work for a frankly unappetizing lunch, try taking a Tupperware of yesterday’s pasta primavera. It will fill you up much more quickly and help you save money on ingredients. You can also send the kids to school with a thermos of leftovers to give them a more nutritious meal than their usual PB and J.
One slightly more committed way to avoid food waste is to dispose of it in a more eco-friendly fashion. Instead of throwing everything in the trash where it will end up in landfill, start composting. Though this method is impractical for apartment dwellers, it is more than possible to have a box of wriggler worms on a back deck to eat up your food scraps. If you have the space for it, consider a solar composter so that you can include meat and dairy.
Planning your meals is the ultimate way in which to avoid food wastage. Decide what you want to eat for the week, make a thorough list of the ingredients listed, and when you go to the grocery store, buy that and nothing else. Feel free to splurge a little because by not wasting food, you are saving money anyway. This is a great opportunity for you to get more familiarised with the many opportunities that live in the kitchen.
Though it may seem as though avoiding food waste is hard work given that meals aplenty are a considerable part of our culture, but the bottom line is that these are necessary steps in our climate change crisis.