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Reduce Food Waste


#Food Waste #Meal Planning #Plan Ahead #reduce


Alidia Vane

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), approximately ⅓ of all food produced for human consumption, or about 1.3 billion tons each year, is lost or wasted. The primary cause of food waste is our food system, with issues like overproduction, extended transportation times, and retail practices contributing to the problem. However, you can have an impact by reducing food waste in your household.

One free and easy way to reduce your food waste is to plan your meals in advance. Along with reducing food waste, meal planning helps you diversify your diet, improve overall health, and save time and money. Here are four steps to take to begin planning your meals ahead:

  1. First, take an inventory of what food you already have. Go through your kitchen or pantry with a special eye for any food near its expiration date. You’ll want to use those foods first, to prevent them from going to waste.
  2. Based on what you already have, and particularly what is going to expire soon, plan out your meals for the week. It’s important to be realistic about your portions and your weekly schedule: only prepare what you and your family can eat, and be realistic about how many days you’ll have time to cook.
  3. Next, head to your favorite store or farmer’s market. When grocery shopping, do your best to stick to your meal plan and avoid impulse purchases. Be sure to buy your perishables in realistic quantities.
  4. When cooking your food, consider how you can implement zero-waste practices in your cooking. For example, try to use all parts of the item, such as composting or creating stocks with any scraps.
  5. Despite your best efforts, there will be times when you can’t finish all the food you prepare. Instead of letting food spoil, consider freezing your leftovers or sharing with a friend.

Meal planning is a simple yet powerful tool to cut down on food waste, and it keeps you from wasting money on food that ultimately ends up in the trash. Visit the “Action” link below for more tips on how to meal prep in a sustainable manner, like using meat substitutes and composting food scraps.

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