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Waste Less

Reduce food waste at home with a few simple tips…

By Karen Kwan

We’ve all been feeling the pinch when grocery shopping, with costs continuing to rise. You may have started to look at flyers for items on sale as a way to cut back on spending at the supermarket, but have you considered how you can cut back on food waste? Being more savvy when it comes to reducing food waste can save you money – here are  five simple tips that will help.

Take stock of what you have at home

Knowing what you already have in your refrigerator and pantry will help you avoid overbuying. How many of us have picked up some veggies, only to get home and realize that the crisper already has those same greens (which start going bad before you’re able to eat it all). Taking inventory of what you have in your kitchen before you head out to the store will help you make a more accurate grocery list of the goods you actually need.

Store and manage your leftovers well

Invest in some storage containers and items such as beeswax wraps so you can store leftovers for optimal freshness. Make note of what leftovers you will have for the days ahead with your schedule in mind, and if you know you won’t be eating them within the next couple of days, prepare them to be stored in your freezer – including labelling the containers so you can easily keep track of them. Also, keeping your fridge and freezer well organized will help you avoid food spoilage. Try following the FIFO method – that is, “first in, first out.” So if you buy some fruit, store it in the fridge behind the fruit you already have in the fruit drawer so that you use the older fruit first.

Start composting

If you haven’t yet started composting, get going! There are loads of sleekly designed compost containers to choose from that will help you put your vegetable peels and coffee grounds to good use. Plus, if you became a green thumb through the pandemic, composting will benefit your newfound hobby.

Get creative with your ingredients and recipes

Since you’ll now be tapped into what you have in your fridge, plan how to use up everything in it. Fruit that is past its prime, for example, can be tossed into a smoothie or berries can be used to flavour water, while veggies that are starting to wilt can be added to a frittata. Also, look for two-for-one recipes, such as grilling a protein as your main one night, then slicing it up and adding it to a salad the next day. Or roast a whole cauliflower and chop up some to use for vegetarian tacos; the next day, you can throw the rest of the cauliflower into the blender to make soup.

Be more resourceful with ingredients you’ve typically tossed

Stems and stalks you’ve automatically thrown into the waste bin can be used in your cooking if you get creative. For one, experiment with pesto using produce other than the traditional basil. Also, some stalks can be added to a stir-fry or soup, or added to a stock to add flavour. If you use a juicer at home, the pulp can be used in smoothies, to make baked goods or even to make fruit leathers.

See how easy it is to save money? …Well, it’s a start.


KAREN KWAN is a freelance health, travel and lifestyle writer based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @healthswellness and on Instagram @healthandswellness.

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