Food goes through a lot before it gets the the shelves. From harvesting and selling to the x-ray food inspections by the FDA, food vacuum pouches, printed shrink sleeves, transporting, stocking and more. There’s so much to the process, it would be impossible to put it all in one article. Just know that everything goes through an extensive process and thorough checking through x-ray food inspections and more in order to be able to be available for us. This is only part of the reason that we should really try and focus on reducing waste when it comes to food. Here are a food ideas of things you can do to reduce food waste.
At the Grocery Store
Don’t just head out to the grocery store and grab what looks good. That’s the worst way that you can shop. Plan out what you and your family are going to need to eat for the week or however long you want to shop for. Write out a list before you go to the grocery store. That way, you’ll be able to see what you already have and plan your meals around that. You’ll save a lot of money and waste that way. Now, the hard part is going to be when you are at the store itself. Make sure that you stick to your list. If you like buying in bulk, check expiration dates and make sure you’ll use all of the product before it’s shelf life ends.
At the Restaurant
Asking for smaller portions will not only help to avoid waste but it will keep you from eating too much as well. Alternatively, you could split a meal with someone. If there’s anything left over, take it home and save it for later on or the next day instead of leaving the food on your plate. The servers will just throw it away and that’ll be a waste of food. If you have children, it’s great to split your meal with them if you are feeling particularly hungry. You won’t have to buy them their own meal, which they probably won’t eat all of anyway and you won’t have to share very much of yours because they generally don’t eat a lot.
Do the research to find out how to properly store food especially those foods that need to be in the fridge or freezer. There are certain ways that you can do it that will maintain the quality and freshness. Utilize resealable bags and Tupperware that can be used again in order to reduce plastic waste as well. Any foods that have had an x-ray food inspection done are usually safe for saving for later but check on that before doing it. There are various tips that you can incorporate such as:
- Keep track of foods that are going bad soon so that you can use them up quickly.
- If you have more food than you think you are going to need or use, donate the extras to a food drive or charity nearby you.
- Always know what is in your fridge and pantry so that you can use it up by the dates as well as not buy extras if you don’t need to.
- Best by or Use by dates do not always mean that the food is unsafe afterwards. Learn to recognize when food has actually gone by instead of solely going by the date on the package.
- Perishables can be left out for over two hours at room temperature. However, if the room is above 90 degrees then you probably should put things away within the hour.
You might think that it doesn’t really make a difference. After all, when you think of the x-ray food inspection and the FDA and harvesting, packaging, etc. it can be easy to feel so small in the whole process. Even so, if every single person did their part in making sure that they minimized the amount of waste that they have, there would be so much more to go around. Maybe we could solve food shortages and famine crises. It starts with one person at a time. You start, then convince those around you who can convince those are them and so on and so forth.