Globally, humans waste approximately 1.3 billion tons of food annually. It is estimated that a four-member family throws away food valued at about $1,500 every year in the US alone. These figures imply that about a third of food produced for consumption by humans goes to waste. Such a large quantity of waste is not only a deprivation of planet resources but also a loss in monetary terms. Besides, the food disposed of as waste poses a threat to the environment. Being the kitchen manager, a housewife has the potential to turn these figures around and make a difference!
Much of the food thrown as wastes could actually be saved if we put a little effort in the way we manage it. Housewives can reduce the quantity of food wasted almost to nil if they make a few adjustments in how they eat, store, and buy foods. This article addresses 5 things every housewife should care to reduce food waste. You may also like to read about the 15 best vacuum sealer reviews at Vacuum Mania which plays an important role to reduce food waste.
1) Planning meals in advance
Coming up with the food menu before the actual preparation can help save plenty of food. One of the major causes of food waste is preparing it in a hurry at the eleventh hour. Planning what to cook eliminates the probability of preparing the same food syndrome which involves repeating the same recipe severally as it is easier and quicker to cook than trying something new.
Planning for your meals in advance does not necessarily mean that you have to strain thinking what to make for your family: All you have to do is have an already compiled list of about 10 or more recipes that you can modify from time to time. Planning for your meals in advance gives you ample time to develop a new idea on how you can spice up your recipe to make the meal more appetizing for your family and hence reduce food waste. For effective planning, it is recommended that you compile a whole week’s recipe and shop for the ingredients only captured in the list.
2) Opting for delivery services
Another main reason most food waste is rampant is shopping for more than needed in the house. This is commonly attributed to our tight schedules over the week. Most of us can only be available once in a week and this contributes to shopping for more than needed in the house in an effort to compensate for the rest of the week-days. Using a delivery service not only solves the problem of excessive buying but also ensures that you have a fresh supply of foodstuff such as vegetables and milk which contribute to food wastes. Using service delivery could save you more than what is thrown away as waste foods because they only charge little delivery charges which are incomparable to the cost of food wastes.
3) Not worrying about the production expiry date
The dates indicated on products have very little to do with the safety of food. Such dates are merely the manufacturers’ indicators of peak period when the product is fresh. It applies to almost all packaged and processed products which often have a shelf line beyond the indicated expiry dates. However, for products such as meat or seafood, it is advisable you freeze them when you realize you will not have consumed them by the indicated expiry date. Products like milk can remain edible even after a few days of its expiry. Therefore, do not throw away all your food based on the date of expiry.
4) Buy what is enough
It does not make sense to overstock your fridge every time you go shopping. In particular, avoid buying large quantities of perishable foods at a go. According to nutritional experts, perishable foods such as vegetables retain their nutritional value up to five days. Undoubtedly, buying plenty of raw foods could be stressing as you might find it difficult storing them on the shelves and fridge and hence contribute to food waste
5) Employing first in, first out (FIFO) strategy
According to FIFO strategy, the foods that are bought first should be the first to be consumed. This strategy is applicable especially to foods with short shelf-life. FIFO can be enhanced by storing such foods at the front end of the shelves and refrigerators because there is a high tendency to forget if they are out of sight. FIFO strategy helps you to identify the foods easily before they become stale and thus avoid food waste.