The average American family throws out $1,600 worth of food a year.
You can save money and waste less with a few smart shopping and cooking tips.
It all starts with the cart.
Wasting less food begins at the grocery store. Live by the motto “Buy what you need, and eat what you buy.” Always have a plan and a list before going grocery shopping. Check your pantry and fridge before you head to the store to make sure you’re buying what you really need.
Buy fresh produce a week at a time.
Buy fresh fruits and vegetables in bulk only if you will use them before they go bad. If you are able to get to the grocery store weekly, buy only enough fresh produce to last that week.
Cook with canned and frozen fruits and vegetables.
They can be a good solution if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to use up fresh foods before they go bad. Bonus: they are often more affordable than fresh and can be even more nutritious.
Stock your pantry.
A well-stocked pantry can be the secret to whipping up a tasty meal from food that would otherwise go to waste. Read our 10 Tips to Stock Your Pantry.
Adapt recipes to your needs.
Learn to adjust recipes to meet your needs and use up what’s in your fridge. Make changes to a recipe based on the foods you have at hand, including leftovers.
Make the freezer your friend.
Freeze bread when it won’t be used right away, or if you have some leftover from a meal (bread can be stored in a freezer for up to 6 months). Freeze leftover vegetables for use in later soups or stir fries. Chop and store fresh fruits in freezer to use for Fruit Smoothies.
Use up fresh fruit before it goes bad.
Use up fresh vegetables before they go bad.
Add vegetables to soups, stews, casseroles, pastas, sauces, or omelets. Combine vegetables and a little salad dressing for a side dish or snack.
Transform leftovers into a new meal.
Transform leftover mashed potatoes into a hearty soup by combining them with stock, a splash of vinegar, onions, carrots and any other veggies you have on hand. Read more on how to plan for leftovers (PDF).
Stretch ingredients over multiple meals.
Use ingredients more than once to save money and avoid food waste. Add veggies to pasta or combine to make a mixed salad.