CUTTING CORNERS | Reduce Food Waste and Save Money


Cutting Corners is an original feature of By The Way that presents practical ways to live out Proverbs 31:15-16, teaching us to lead sensible lives (Titus 2:3-5) as we seek to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. 

This article originally appeared in the May 2009 newsletter edition of By The Way.



By Elise Haroldson

More than three million tons of wasted food is being dumped every year by households - about one third of what is bought, government researchers have found. Break that down to individual households and you can see that approximately 30% of what we buy goes in the trash. If you look at your own annual budget for groceries, I think you’ll be amazed at what the grand total may be if this statistic is true of your family. Luckily, this is something that can be easily amended by simply following some tried-and- true shopping, storage, and usage tips. Once again, you’ll save yourself some green by going green, which is just another way to be good stewards of the resources that God has given us.

1 Write a list and double-check your pantry and refrigerator. Only buy fresh fruits and vegetables that you know you’ll use. Resort to canned and frozen supplies if you run short at the end of the week.

2 Check the temperature setting on your refrigerator. The optimal setting is between 35 and 38°F to reduce bacterial growth and fruit and vegetable spoilage.

3 Get creative in your cooking. Fruit that is going soft can be used in baking or smoothies. Vegetables that are starting to wilt can be cut up and frozen for future soups.

4 Use up your leftovers. Either eat them or use them for tomorrow’s recipes.

5 Rotate. When you buy new food, bring all older items in your pantry and refrigerator to the front and put the new in the back.

6 Serve small amounts. Your family can always come back for more! This will reduce the amount that is scraped off your plates at the end of a meal.

7 Be choosy in the produce aisle. Thoroughly check each fruit or vegetable for bruises, soft spots, discoloration, etc. “A rotten apple can spoil the whole bunch!”

8 Utilize your freezer. Just about anything can be frozen and reused at a later date! Just make sure you properly store and label the items and keep a log of what is in your freezer so you are reminded to use it later.

9 Compost. If you are a gardener, this is an easy and inexpensive way to fertilize your garden.

10 Be realistic. A lot of us have great ambitions for eating healthier, especially when shopping on the weekend. As a result, we stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, but when the work week kicks into high gear, we often resort to pre- prepared meals and take-out. 

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