1. Keep your refrigerator clean and organized so you can easily see what you have, what you need, and what needs to be consumed. Keep older food items in the front of the refrigerator where they can be easily reached.
2. Freeze food items before they go bad. When wrapped properly, most foods can be successfully frozen. If you notice something that is about to spoil before you can use it, wrap it and put it into your freezer for later use. (Be sure to write the date on all frozen foods so you know how long they’ve been in the freezer.)
3. Always shop with a list and plan your meals in advance so that you buy only what you actually need. Check your refrigerator and pantry to see what items you already have. Try to choose recipes that only have a few ingredients to cut down on food purchases.
4. When shopping for food, think about when you’re going to use each item. Choose under ripe fruits and vegetables, such as avocadoes and bananas, if you don’t plan to eat them for a few days. Check the dates on dairy products to make sure they will still be fresh by the time you consume them.
5. Don’t cook more than you need. If a recipe makes more servings than you can eat in a sitting, cut the amounts accordingly. In restaurants, don’t order more than you can eat or plan to take home a doggie bag. Split large entrees with a dining partner.
6. Be creative with leftovers. Designate a soup container in the freezer for small amounts of leftover vegetables. When the container gets full, thaw the veggies and add some broth, tomato sauce, garlic, and spices for a delicious vegetable soup. Single servings of leftovers make great lunches for home, school, or the office.
7. Start a compost pile for food scraps. Consider growing your own vegetables, which will be more economical and will taste fresher, plus you can harvest when you need them. Having an organic garden can save you even more money on your grocery bill.
8. If you want to buy items in bulk to save money, consider splitting large quantities with a family member, friend, or neighbor so that nothing goes to waste.
9. Donate food items that you won’t use to your local food bank.
10. Get the whole family involved! Ask for their cooperation and ideas so it’s a team effort!