21 Simple Kitchen Hacks to Waste Less Food
21 Simple Kitchen Hacks to Waste Less Food
Save money, save water, and save the planet
Fight back against food waste with easy kitchen hacks that you can implement right now.
Americans toss 31% of their food in the trash – that’s over 133 billion pounds per year, according to the USDA. This embarrassing statistic isn’t just about wasting food; it’s also about squandering resources like water, energy, land, and labor – not to mention your hard-earned cash. Food waste needlessly produces greenhouse gasses, contributing to global warming and climate change.
But you can make a difference. Waste less every day with easy kitchen hacks to help you cook smarter, store foods better, and eat like the planet depends on it (because it does).
- Water Your Stems. Herbs, greens, and vegetables with stems (like celery and asparagus) last longer when their feet are in water. Stand them up in a container with 1-2 inches of water, and then cover their tops with loose plastic or light cloth.
- Break Up Bananas. Single bananas last longer than they do in a bunch!
- Freeze Bread Immediately. Bread spoils quickly and is a prime culprit for kitchen waste. Don’t wait until half the loaf is gone to freeze it. Set aside the amount of bread that you’ll eat the first day or two and freeze the rest right away.
- Keep Rice on Hand. Rice is your best friend for using up vegetables, meats, herbs, sauces, and leftovers that are past their prime. Simply add some spices and/or broth and create a whole new meal.
- Banish Fresh Air. Keep dry goods fresher by storing them in containers that are absolutely airtight. You can repurpose glass jars with screw-tops, old plastic tubs, and resealable plastic bags.
- Dare to Document Your Waste. Write down every piece of food that you toss into your trashcan or garbage disposal. At the end of one week, add up the costs. Seeing your waste written down in black and white is powerful inspiration to do better next time.
- Chill Out with Dairy. Your fridge’s door is the warmest part, so use it for foods that don’t spoil easily (like pickles and condiments). Store dairy products near the vents, which is usually the coldest area. And choose organic milk, which is preserved with a unique process and stays fresh much longer than regular milk.
- Turn Off the Lights. Garlic, onions, and potatoes will last longer when stored in dark places. Brown paper bags do the trick!
- Don’t Go Hungry. When you let yourself get really hungry, you’re more likely to grab whatever’s in front of you – instead of chopping up those vegetables and sticking to your meal plan. Act before hunger strikes with a high-protein snack like a Farm to Muscle
- Learn to Love Leftovers. Can’t get excited about leftovers? Turn it into a game. Every time you eat leftovers (aka a free meal), reward yourself immediately by depositing $1 into a bank account or jar. When your savings grow large enough, treat yourself to a cooking class, new kitchen tool, or restaurant meal. And you’ll still be saving money on your grocery bill.
- Establish “Eat Me First” Zones. Create special spaces in your pantry and fridge for foods that are about to go bad. You’ll know what needs to be eaten with one quick glance.
- Pamper Your Greens. Store washed and dried greens with a paper or cloth towel to soak up the moisture that causes decay. Replace when wet.
- Shake That Mayo. It’s not impossible to get every last bit of mayo out of your near-empty jar. Just add a bit of oil, vinegar, herbs, and spices and shake it well for instant salad dressing.
- Keep a Freezer Inventory. It’s easy to forget exactly which foods are in your freezer. You find that block of cheese or fish filet months later – and then have to throw it out because it’s bad. Keep track of your freezer’s contents with a small whiteboard.
- Don’t Obsess Over Expiration Dates. Foods that are past their expiration dates aren’t automatically dangerous. Most expiration dates are not federally regulated (except for baby foods) – they’re just the manufacturer’s suggestion. Use your senses to make the call; if food smells, looks, or feels off, then toss it. Exception: Heed expiration dates on smoked seafood, deli meats, and unpasteurized dairy products due to their higher risk for listeria.
- See the Light with Leftovers. Out of sight, out of mind. Stash your leftovers in clear glass containers so you can see them. Store leftovers as single-serving meals so they’re ready to eat, and let them live in your fridge’s “Eat Me First” zone.
- Separate Fruits & Vegetables. Not only do they need different humidity levels in storage, many fruits cause vegetables to spoil faster by emitting ethylene gas as they ripen. Refrigerators have two produce drawers for a reason.
- Give Vegetables First Dibs. If you have too much produce than will fit in your refrigerator’s drawers, reserve them for vegetables and stash the fruits up top. Vegetables will benefit more from the drawers’ higher humidity levels.
- Warm Up to Freezer Burn. Although it looks and tastes a little different, food with freezer burn is totally safe to eat – it just wasn’t sealed well and became dehydrated. Use freezer-burned meats and vegetables in stews, soups, chilis, and spicy dishes that will mask the dehydrated taste.
- Get App Happy. Cook using the ingredients you already have with the help of apps like Supercook and All Recipes’ Dinner Spinner. Enter the ingredients that you have on hand and choose from the meal ideas that pop up.
- Energize with Farm to Muscle Enjoy a delicious shake made with our organic protein powder for an easy, high-protein “meal” that doesn’t require you to buy or stock any perishable forms of protein. Keep our non-GMO protein powder on hand for quick nutrition that fits your busy life – and nothing goes in the trash. It’s one of the ultimate kitchen hacks!
Waste Not, Want Not: Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
When you choose to waste less food, you’re making a powerful impact on the environment and the future of the planet. Every little action counts, because they can all add up to change the world. Farm to Muscle organic protein powder makes conscious living easy with simple, all-natural ingredients that are ready to go when you are.
Be the change – it starts today!