As a Supermarket Dietitian, I am often asked “how do I eat healthy on a budget?” The responses that most customers expect are: buy in-season, stock up on sales, use coupons, plan menus, stick to the list, etc. But what about reducing food waste? We are all guilty of it. We buy foods without a plan and are unable to eat them before they go bad. Remember, throwing away food is throwing away money.
8 Ways to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money
- Have a plan, make a list, and stick to it!
Walking through the grocery store without a plan can lead to disaster. Not only will you succumb to unhealthy and expensive impulse buys, you will most likely find yourself still wondering “what’s for dinner?” Buying items without intent, can leave those items unused and ready for spoilage.
- Eat fresh produce first
When purchasing perishable items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, keep them in clear view and have a plan to use them within 3 days of purchase. This will ensure the freshest tasting foods for your family.
- Make time for prep
After the return trip home from the grocery store, build in some extra time to prepare fresh fruits and vegetables. Wash and cut items so they are ready to use and so that no excuse can get in the way. If you find you may not have this time in a particular week, maybe you want to consider spending a little extra money and purchase pre-washed or pre-cut items.
- Know your foods
Be aware of how to best store your foods. This will help all foods taste better and last longer. Fresh meats and fresh produce are particularly vulnerable to improper storage. Guide: Storing Fresh Fruits & Veggies
- Remember all forms count
To reduce your worry of food storage and waste, stock up on frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice. These items have a longer shelf life and can be kept on hand to meet snack and meal demands instantly!
- Past its prime?
Don’t be so quick to toss fresh fruits and vegetable in the trash just because they may be a bit old. Think of ways to utilize them in smoothies, baking, soups or casseroles.
- Do not over-shop
We all have different shopping tendencies. Some of us go once a week, others go once a month. If you are struggling to plan, purchase and prepare meals on your current schedule, it may be time to re-evaluate. Making shorter, but more frequent stops at the store may help to focus on what is needed at the time and not what “may” be used.
- Make food a priority
Food shopping and meal preparation is typically not a favorite household activity. However, it is time to shift our attitudes! Let’s make it fun, enjoyable, a daily experience and of course a priority for a healthful quality of life!
Meredith McGrath RD, LDN
Redner’s Markets, Inc.
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