What’s the best way to eat the food in your fridge?
We all want to do better, but some foods end up lost in the back of the fridge or hidden in a drawer. Despite our best efforts, we throw out up to 40 percent of the food we buy. More food is wasted in our homes than any other part of the supply chain, with consumers wasting more food than restaurants and grocery stores combined.
According to the National Resources Defense Council, “each year, the average family of four wastes an average of 1,000 pounds of food at home, resulting in at least $1,500 lost.” This means that, individually, we each toss out over 20 pounds of food every month. Not only does this impact our household budget, but it also has a huge impact on our environment. Wasted food equates to wasted water, energy, production, land use, added transportation emissions, and labor.
The good news is that you can take steps to reduce food waste. By learning how to keep food fresh longer, you can make the most out of the food in your fridge.
Let’s take a look at some tips to better plan, store, and eat our foods.
Making a plan– Products in grocery stores are designed to trigger us to unconsciously purchase things we don’t need. To avoid buying excess food, go to the store with a plan, and try to stick to it. If it’s possible, try going to the store when necessary to avoid overstocking your fridge. This will you stick to things you need and keep foods fresh.
Imperfect foods– Shoppers often overlook foods that are odd shapes and sizes. However, these foods are just as edible and nutritious! Often, these foods are cheaper and can be blended up in smoothies and dips or used in stir-fries.
The best storage– Learning how to stock and store things in your fridge properly will help keep things fresher longer. Make sure your refrigerator has a thermometer to keep track of proper temperatures. To make sure foods last longer, keep the temperature at 40 Fahrenheit or lower. Upper shelves tend to be warmer to store drinks or leftovers, while the lower shelf is usually the coldest for meats, seafood, and other proteins.
Using the freezer– The freezer is a great place to store unused fruits or vegetables to extend their life. With a little prep, you can use these frozen goodies for months. Try storing chopped produce in reusable freezer-safe bags or storing blended greens in ice cube trays for a boost of greens in your next smoothie.
Remixing leftovers– Making sure you eat your leftovers can help reduce clutter and waste. Whether you meal-prepped for the week or have leftovers from a restaurant, start by labeling the containers to keep track of how long you’ve had them. Having a ready-made meal in the freezer for a later date can help on a busy night or make for a great grab-and-go lunch.