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5 Tips to Prevent Food Waste

August 15th, 2014
Center for Food Safety

Want to know how to reduce the amount of food you throw away? Check out these tips!

40% of the food in the United States is thrown in the trash. This is a staggering amount of waste, but there are easy ways to avoid it that are good for both the environment and your budget. Try these five simple tips for big savings.


1. Plan ahead

Set aside a regular time to plan your meals for the week and make a shopping list so you buy only what you need. Buy from the bulk section so you don’t overbuy, and don’t make impulse purchases. Sticking to your list will help you avoid things you don’t need and that you’re unlikely to actually consume.


2. Practice “first in, first out”

Organize your food by freshness. When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires.


3. Serve smaller portions

Start with less food, with the understanding that everybody can come back for more once they've cleared their plate. This is especially helpful for children, who rarely estimate how much they can eat at once. Reducing portion sizes is an easy way to reduce food waste.


4. Use your freezer

Get in the habit of anticipating when you're likely to have an excess of food, and freeze it before it has a chance to rot or go stale. Good candidates for the freezer include leftovers, big batches of soup and casseroles, bread, fresh herbs, and scraps that can be turned into stock.


5. Preserve your produce

Preserve, pickle or can surplus fruits and vegetables — especially abundant seasonal produce. Produce doesn’t have to be tossed just because it’s reaching the end of its peak. Soft fruit can be used in smoothies and baked goods, while wilting vegetables can be used in soups, stir-fries and frittatas.

Not only will these tips help you save food, you’ll save money too! And if from time to time you do end up with some food waste, make sure to compost it properly where it will turn into soil.

Want More? Be sure to check out our Cool Foods Campaign’s “Watch Your Waste” board on Pinterest.

Have some great ideas for preventing food waste? Favorite canning or preserving recipes? Share them on in our Healthy Home Social Hub by using #HealthyHome in your Tweets or Facebook posts!