How to Stretch Your Grocery Haul Further

How to Stretch Your Grocery Haul Further

Publish Date May 5, 2023 3 Minute Read

Our weekly grocery trip is full of opportunities to make nutritious choices, discover new foods and simplify our lives with meal planning. Planning ahead for your grocery trip is one of the best strategies to set yourself up for success. However, even with the best intentions to eat healthier and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies, sometimes we fall short of our goals. And more often than not, these fresh foods go to waste.

The Cost of Food Waste

Food waste may seem inevitable, but there are steps we can take to reduce, and ideally, eliminate our food waste. It may take some creativity, but your health and your wallet will thank you! First, let's start with some facts to get us motivated:

  • An average American family of four loses approximately $1500 every year due to food waste.
  • 28% of the world's agricultural land—an area larger than Canada—is used to grow food that never gets eaten.
  • Food waste is the single largest component of solid waste in U.S. landfills.

Tips to Reduce Food Waste + Stretch Your Grocery Haul

So, how can you begin to reverse these statistics, while also helping your grocery haul last longer and work harder? Here are some helpful tips.

  1. Save your scraps. One of the most common sources of food waste is unused scraps from fruits and vegetables. Don’t automatically scrap these pieces; instead, use them in new and creative ways. Bake the peels of apples with a pinch of cinnamon for a naturally-sweetened, crunchy snack. When juicing fruits and vegetables, freeze the pulp and add to smoothies for extra fiber. Utilize scraps from vegetables to make homemade chicken or vegetable stock. And, a favorite baking option, use over-ripened bananas to make fresh and nourishing banana bread.
  2. Get creative with food combinations. Have you ever been left with a random assortment of vegetables in your fridge? While it may take longer to use each of them separately, causing some of them to spoil, a better strategy is to combine them in dishes where their flavors can complement one another. Vegetable soups, veggie and grain bowls, and stir-frys are all excellent options to add to your weekly recipe rotation in order to avoid vegetable waste.
  3. Plan to use one food item in multiple dishes. Making a recipe that calls for one stalk of celery is bound to leave you with extras. Having a plan to use the extra celery can help eliminate this potential waste. If using celery in a stew for dinner, plan to serve the rest of the celery as a snack the next day paired with your family's favorite dipping sauce or topped with peanut butter and raisins.
  4. Buy what’s in season. Seasonal produce will not only give you the best bang for your buck, but it will also be the freshest. This means it will last longer, giving you more time to get creative with how to use any leftovers. If looking to use produce that is not in season, using canned or frozen can also be a great option. These options are typically budget friendly as well as having a longer self-life. Canned and frozen options are preserved at their peak of freshness, so no need to worry about any lost flavor.
  5. Compost it! Have you ever tried composting? It might sound like a daunting task, but once you start, you’ll be glad you did. You can compost a variety of foods, everything from eggshells and coffee grounds to moldy fruits and old banana peels. Composting creates a nutrient-rich soil that can be used to nourish your next crop of fruits and veggies; it’s a true 360 degree approach to sustainability!

Remember, food doesn't need to end up in the trash. Improve your health, your budget, and the world we live in by reducing food waste one step at a time. Explore more healthy living advice, and search for recipe inspiration for your next grocery haul!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and is not meant to provide healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.