6 Tips for Reducing Food Waste

The amount of food waste the average family wastes each year is higher than most of us would like to own up to. Now that the teens and young adults have moved out and left the nest, it can feel like you still need to make those massive family dinners for five even though your family has shrunk. Here are my secrets to help you avoid food waste as a smaller family and help you avoid wasting both food and money!

tips for reducing food waste

6 Tips for Reducing Food Waste

tips for reducing food waste

Don't miss this post. It's an old post written about a decade ago {by me!}, but the information is still very timely!

Living well on less: saving money on your food bill

Cut down the servings

While you may not be able to reduce a casserole or baked ziti significantly, there are a number of recipes that you can easily scale back the servings. Observe how much leftover food you are storing and cut back until you don’t have leftovers anymore.

Have you ever been curious about trying a pantry challenge? Read more!

Prepare for scraps and leftovers

You will likely have leftovers and scraps no matter what meal you make. Find creative ways to cook with your scraps whether it’s stocks and salads or stir frys. Just as with your scraps, make a plan for leftover food you’ve cooked and leftover ingredients you have. Plan multiple meals that use the ingredients you have and leave at least one leftover night per week.

I'll often make tacos one night and then with the leftover chicken I'll make a soup or serve it as a burrito bowl. Learning how to make a good soup base, will also help you easily use leftover food too. We often eat soup at least once a week.


It’s okay to skip the deals

As a larger family, I found myself stocking up on the large oversized packages all the time. My family of five could eat that in no time. However, now that there are fewer of us, I’m finding less and less value and more food waste out of those larger packages. Don’t be tempted by great deals that come in larger packages if you don’t think your family can eat it all.

Don't miss this grocery stockpiling guide so you know how and when to stock up!

Don’t fear the freezer

With the exception of a handful of things, you can toss about anything you could think of in the freezer! From fresh meat to produce, you can easily save your leftovers or things you can use up in time from being thrown out by putting them in the freezer. This can extend the life of your meals and reduce your food waste.

Regularly clean out your freezer, fridge, and pantry

This might sound like an obvious tip, but even if you take inventory, things get lost in our home. This is true for our food storage too! It won’t take long for a tomato or a pile of leftovers to get lost in your fridge forever. Clean things out regularly so you are always cycling through old food.

food waste reducing

Eat what will go bad first

When you are about to make a meal, you should be asking yourself what will go bad first instead of what do you want to eat. This mindset shift will help you start using up the items about to go bad, and keep you from letting food rot in the fridge. It can also help you keep track of food that is starting to turn.

Ever wanted to know if a meal-planning subscription service is budget-friendly? Check out this post!

Hopefully, this post has given you some inspiration for how to help reduce your family’s food waste, and some ideas to help you avoid it in the first place.

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