According to the UN, around 21,000 people die of starvation or hunger-related causes on a daily basis, which means that more than seven million people starve to death every year. Just to give you an idea of how grave the situation is, at this rate, the equivalent of the entire population of L.A. dies every six months. Remember this every time you toss some food into the garbage can.
Of course, your surplus food can’t literally go to the hungry children of Africa, but you don’t have to waste it, either. The fact is that the amount of food the world wastes every year is enough to feed more than one billion hungry people. So, the math is simple, if seven million people die of starvation each year, and the food we waste could feed one billion mouths, then no one on Earth should ever have to die because of starvation. There is certainly enough food for everyone, but some of us are taking more than we need, while others get less than necessary.
This could all be easily changed if we all do something about it. Global changes start with individuals. Lead by example and pass it on, it’s easier than you might think. Here are some tips on how to reduce the amount of food you waste. You will also save some money along the way
Before you even go shopping for groceries, make a plan for your meals and then write a list of ingredients you need to buy. Don’t reach for anything that’s not on your list, because all of those things we buy without planning, usually end up in the garbage. Also, make sure to note the exact amounts of ingredients you need and don’t ignore your notes. If you need only one onion, then buy only one. Don’t fall for the sale and grab a whole bag, because you’re going to use only one, and the rest will rot. This way you’ll also save some money, since you’re going to buy only stuff that’s necessary.
Be true to yourself and don’t buy things you don’t need or ever use. For example, if you rarely cook, don’t stock up on groceries that have to be prepared for eating. Or, if your children always refuse to eat peas, pick vegetables that they actually like.
If you live alone, you definitely don’t have to buy plenty of apples just because you promised your Mom that you’re going to eat healthy. We all know that you’ll eat one and leave the rest to decay slowly in the fruit bowl.
On the other hand, if you like and eat fruits and vegetables, don’t hesitate to buy ones that are a bit smaller or imperfect. They are also good to eat, and their imperfections usually indicate that they are natural, without humans having altered them to make them look all flawless and identical.
Also, make a plan B! Sometimes we plan a gathering, a party or a dinner for a lot of people. However, plans often change, emergencies happen, plans get cancelled. If you get those specific cookies your niece adores, but her mother has to work over the weekend and they cancel on you, use the cookies for a special sweet treat for other guests. Or simply eat them yourself; your special dietary plan won’t go down the drain because you ate one pack of cookies.
Store a Lot, Share Even More
Since your well-organized plan for saving food and money starts today, you certainly have some extra groceries stocked up. Hence, you should store them smartly. If you’re sure that you can’t eat the leftovers of yesterday’s lunch, then freeze them. Most of the dishes are perfectly edible after defrosting and reheating, and since almost everyone has a microwave nowadays, this won’t take much time and effort. Plus, this food won’t be thrown away and you won’t have to cook lunch again in a couple of days. There you go – double save!
You can save fruit by canning it, so you’ll have some fresh strawberries in December and they won’t cost a fortune. There is also an option to make some jam. The good thing about jam is that it stays edible for a long time, and you can mix any kinds of fruit you have, it always turns out tasty. When it comes to vegetables, you can pickle them, or can them, too.
And store your food in the best way there is, take the most of your kitchen appliances. First of all, pay attention to the efficiency of your fridge and freezer. Adjust the temperature properly and make sure that your seals are tight. Then, put the food in the compartments made for it. Certain parts of the fridge are more or less humid, according to the type of food that should be preserved in it. When you store properly, everything lasts longer.
Prolong the freshness of chips, crackers, cereals and biscuits by keeping them in airtight bags. And next time you go to the store, you’ll know that you need a smaller pack. For those times you overestimate your hunger or you just try a new recipe and turns out the amount is bigger than you can eat, you can simply share your food with your friends or neighbors. They’ll appreciate it and there won’t be any food wasted.
Another way to share and save is to find a food kitchen and donate the stuff you don’t eat. You don’t like it or can’t eat everything, and they’ll be happy to have it. One more point for saving, zero for wasting. Moreover, a lot of farms are taking the scraps for compost. Something that’s garbage for you is a valuable product for somebody else.
Don’t Give Up
Use everything you can! Leftovers could be transformed into sandwiches and eaten at work or school. Besides that, you could make your own new recipe from the things you find pushed off to the corners of the fridge. For example, most vegetables will fit well in a soups, and any fruit can be a delicious part of a pie.
Don’t throw stuff away before you really have to. Expiry dates are put there mostly to protect the manufacturer, because they show the dates by which the product is certainly in its best and safest condition. However, most products, even milk and meat, are safe and good to eat a few days after the expiration date. Thus, always check the food itself before you throw it away. If it didn’t change color, smell and/or taste, you should be able to consume it, despite the date printed on the packaging.
Change Your Eating Habits
It happens quite often that you make more food than you can eat. Sometimes you’re too hungry and you overestimate the amount you need. Other times, the meal looks so tasty that you just pile up a ton of food on your plate.
A good way to get around getting into this situation is to try to put less food on your plate. Follow this example regularly and you’ll realize that you’re wasting less and saving more day by day.
If when you eat out you usually go to restaurants that serve big portions, a great way to avoid spending too much and leaving a heap of food on your plate, is to share a dish. Find a meal you and your companion both like, order one portion, and share it.
However, if a person you’re going out with and you have different taste in food and sharing a meal isn’t an option, then simply take the leftovers home. That way you don’t waste food and save some money and time since you don’t have to cook the next day.
Use Meal Delivery Services
You’ll find meal delivery services extremely serviceable and useful. They can deliver prepared meals any time you want and how often you want. It will save you time and tons of money since you’re staying in, yet eating high quality food.
With meal delivery services, all the portions are made and packed according to your requirements. It’s up to you to estimate well and don’t order more then you need. Everything is prepared to meet all your wishes and conditions, whatever they are. And once again, if you plan carefully, no food will be wasted.
Certain meal delivery services offer you the possibility to have ingredients and recipe shipped straight to your door which you them cook on your own. This way you save time because all the groceries will be brought to your door step. You can either choose some of their chef’s recipes or use your own and just order the ingredients and condiments. You don’t waste any food, since the ingredients are carefully measured, and you get exactly the amount you need, including the spices.
Furthermore, you can order from these meal delivery services even if you have a special dietary regime. They offer dietary plans adjusted for diabetics, seniors, and both vegans and vegetarians. This allows more people to effortlessly join the team of careful planners and food savers. You can now both save some food and money, and take care of your health and diet without getting out of the house. It’s clearly a win-win option.