This blog was written by USU Dietetic Intern Heather Wright.
Earth month is here! There is no better way to celebrate than by taking little steps to treat it better! To celebrate Stop Food Waste Day, and Earth month, we have 10 tips to reduce food waste in your home. Here at Harmons we do our best to reduce food waste and are excited to share easy things you can do on a daily and weekly basis.
1. make a shopping list
Figure out the foods you’ll need and put the exact amount and item on a list. Having a shopping list in hand during grocery shopping will help you remember everything you need, while avoiding things you don’t that you might throw out later.
2. Look before you shop
After making your shopping list, look at your refrigerator, pantry, and produce to see what you already have. You might find that you have some leftover garlic cloves, or half of an onion that you can use.
3. remember foods you usually throw out
Keeping track of foods you regularly discard can help you figure out and stop the trend. Suggestions are to buy in smaller quantities, or make sure the recipes you’re using are accurate. Fun Fact! Here at Harmons you can ask any produce associate to help you buy things in smaller quantities than you see on the shelves. For example half a head of broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower!
4. store food correctly
Keep bananas, pears, and peaches out of the fruit bowl- they make the other fruits spoil faster. Don’t store onions, garlic, potatoes, or tomatoes in the fridge, keep them at room temperature. If you don’t know the best way to store a certain fruit or vegetable, look it up! Spending 1 minute to research storing techniques can save you a lot of money in the long run, while protecting the Earth.
5. eat foods that will spoil first
Having a system in your refrigerator and pantry with newest foods at the back as well as checking dates on cans will help you pick the best foods first. Compare produce and eat the more delicate ones first, like spinach, and save the heartier ones, like cabbage for the end of the week. This will help you prevent any spoilage in your house, because you eat them before they have the chance.
6. have a leftover day
Set aside a specific day of the week to eat leftovers in the refrigerator. Everyone can still eat their favorites while saving time and money, and cleaning out the fridge.
7. get creative with leftovers
Use leftover pieces of potatoes to make hash browns, or little pieces of chicken to make a chicken salad sandwich. You can use leftover rice for fried rice, or as the base for your meal the next day.
8. Freeze food
Don’t be scared to freeze your food, it extends the life of your food for a very long time, giving you more time to eat it. If you see something that’s about to go bad and know you won’t eat it in time, toss it in the freezer until you know you will. Try putting leftovers straight into the freezer. If you know you won’t use a whole package of meat, take what you need and freeze the rest. If berries are about to go bad, freeze them until you can toss them in a smoothie. Check out this blog on freezing foods, if you want more ideas. You Can Freeze That? -Harmon’s Grocery
9. cook with food scraps
Make a homemade vegetable broth with vegetable scraps, or a chicken broth with the bones from yesterday’s chicken. If you have some spinach or kale leaves starting to wilt, avoid eating them in a salad and cook them or put them in . See our blog post on Save The Spring Mix for more ideas for those greens.
10. if you won't eat it, gift it
If you know you won’t eat certain foods, give it to someone who you know will. Whether this is because of an allergy, foods you dislike, or sheer high quantities, sometimes we just can’t eat everything. Think of a family member, neighbor, local food bank, etc. and gift it to them!
There are a lot of things you can do to stop food waste in your own home. A great place to start is with one or two of these suggestions, then slowly adding others. You’ll find the ones that work best for you and will realize they make a huge impact on not just you and your budget, but also the earth!