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26 May 2020 | 5 min read

7 Ways To Reduce Food Waste And Upgrade Your Meal-Prep Game

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Food waste and proper meal prep is a serious issue that is facing many communities and families today. In fact, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted every year. Multiple factors lead to food wastage, some of them include consumer waste, production waste, commercial waste, inadequate storage, and packaging, coupled with losses as a result of poor transportation and roads, storage problems, pests, flooding, and drought.

Beside food wastage, blemished food is also turning out to be a massive global issue worldwide. Consumers are becoming accustomed to seeing shiny, round, or straight fruits and veggies in grocery stores. It’s to the point that the UN was able to create an entire banquet out of cosmetically damaged foods. In fact, during one of the past UN meeting, a five-course meal was served to some 500 delegates, entirely cooked from reject-grade food. In the food services industry, waste is also enormous. Just think of all of those times servers need to ask whether people would like their food leftovers packed up. If the answer is ‘No’, that food goes into the garbage.

It, therefore, goes without saying that it must be both a community and individual responsibility to reduce food waste. And with the simple steps that we have given below, we help you save big on those grocery bills, while also effectively reduce food waste.

1. Don’t Discard Food Leftovers

Food Leftovers - Live More Zone

  • Stale bread or chapati: You can make your breadcrumbs with leftover dried bread. Toss pieces of extra chapati in garlic, olive oil and oregano to make delicious appetizers. Breadcrumbs can be used as topping for pasta. Find more recipes here.
  • Chopped vegetables: Use them in sauces, soups, and stocks for that added flavour.
  • Fruits: If your leftover fruits are getting soft and stale, toss them in the blender and make healthy smoothies.

2. Plan Your Meal

Plan for meals - Live More Zone

Goes without saying, this is undoubtedly the best way to reduce food waste. Try saving at least an hour to plan your meals of the day. If you make this a weekly exercise, you can check to see if you have enough of the staples to last a week; like, flour, oil, spices, canned food, etc.

See if you can plan and use the same ingredients in various ways for several meals. This way, your grocery list will be streamlined well, and you will know if you are using every component in the kitchen. While doing this, make sure that food leftovers are also considered. This way, little or nothing will go waste.

3. Consider The Ripeness of Vegetables And Fruits

Fruits and vegetables - Live More Zone

If you buy soft or well ripe fruits, they are bound to go bad within a day or two – the same is the case with vegetables. Unless you plan to finish everything the same day, do not buy overripe, soft fruits and vegetables {unless you can meal prep them for future use}. You can ask your vegetables and fruits vendor if you cannot tell the difference.

If there are a few days for the fruits/vegetables to ripen, then you can consume them over the next few days, thus avoiding discarding food.

Tip – Get fresh fruits delivered to your home through bigbasket – find out more.

4. Clean and Wrap Your Fruits and Vegetables

Wash and clean fruits- Live More Zone

This always works. Clean all your fruits and vegetables, let them dry and wrap in clean paper towels or newspapers. This will absorb the extra moisture and prevent them from getting soft and going bad. You can take the covered fruits and veggies out as and when required to consume.

5. Always Meal Prep Everything

Meal preparation - Live More Zone

How many times have you left work late with a growling stomach but little energy to shop and cook? A busy schedule is one of the top reasons why many of us choose quick takeout meals, which are often calorie-laden and result in the wastage of a lot of money as well. Amidst hectic weekday schedules, meal prep or meal planning is a great tool to help keep us on a healthy eating track.

Although any meal prep requires planning, there is no one correct method, as it can differ based on food preferences, cooking ability, schedules, and personal goals. Here are some ideas before your meal prep for the next week.

  • Start a monthly calendar or spreadsheet to record your meal ideas, favorite recipe sites, and food shopping lists.
  • Collect healthy recipes. Clip recipes from print magazines and newspapers and save in a binder or copy links of recipes onto an online spreadsheet.
  • If you stay with your family, discuss what types of foods and favorite meals they like to eat, so that you can prep accordingly.

6. Make The Most Of Your Freezer

Use freezer - Live More Zone

Remember, you can stock-up sauces, curries, blanched peas, carrots, several veggies, meats, and more in the freezer. Keep checking from time to time though, that you are using all the frozen stuff. Most people forget and eventually end up discarding the saved frozen food too. Food stored in the freezer comes in handy for all your busy workdays when you have little or no time to prep for meals.

7. Composting Food

Compostng food - Live More Zone

Composting is such an excellent way to put nutrients directly back into the earth. If you don’t have a backyard where you can create your compost, you can use compost pick-up services in your local area (which will convert your food waste into compost for you). Alternatively, you can also make your own DIY indoor compost bin or see if there’s an opportunity to create a communal apartment block compost bin. Use the compost for your plants and watch them thrive.

In conclusion, every little bit of food saved helps, and it can make more of a difference than you may think.

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