Tips & Lifestyle

How to shop smart and avoid wasting food

August 23, 2012
How to shop smart and avoid wasting food

I’ll admit it; I am a terrible food shopper. Most of the food that I purchase ends up in the garbage can of my kitchen. It is not something that I am proud of. But, according to a report published by the Natural Defense Council, I am not alone. At least 40% of the food that is purchased in the U.S is not eaten which means that we waste over $165 billion a year in uneaten food. That is unbelievable! I mean, I knew that I wasted food, but I didn’t know that almost half of everything that I prepare on my cutting board was wasted. In order to be a smarter shopper and avoid wasting food in the future, I decided to search for ideas on how to make my food (and yours) last longer.

And here is what I discovered.

Wasting food occurs in the home

Eating everything that you purchase is hard enough when you live alone, but it is even harder when you live in a big family. People who live in large families tend to buy things in bulk. By doing so, they believe they are saving money and that they will have enough food to last a long time, but nothing last forever, especially when it comes to food.

You would think that with the American economy slowing recovering from a recent recession, people would make sure to eat everything that they buy. But, food in the US isn’t as expensive as you would think, because there’s is plenty of it. As such, most families don’t follow a weekly budget when the time comes to buy groceries and they don’t care that almost half what they buy and serve on their cutting boards ends up in the trash.

Tips to avoid wasting food

  • Reach for the product in the back: Expiration dates play a big part of what gets placed at the front of the shelves in grocery stores. Naturally, the stores will want to sell what is almost expired, so those products will be pushed to the front of the shelves. If you want to buy something that will last longer in your fridge, reach for the products in the back. They are fresher than their older counterparts who have been sitting at the front of the line for a long time.
  • Use all the space in your fridge: You might think that all the sections of your fridge are created equal, but that is not the case. The back of the fridge is always colder than the front or the shelves, so dairy products should be placed there. Avoid placing raw meet close to cooked meals to prevent contamination and make sure to keep your fridge as cold as possible. As for your dry foods, it is best to keep them in a pantry that is dark and cool. Some things like nuts and flour can even be stored in your freezer.
  • Pay attention to the things you buy: I love to eat, but I hate shopping for food. I consider it to be more of a chore than a pleasure. So, I try to get it done as quickly as possible. Because of that, I don’t always take the time to inspect my food like I should and I end up buying apples that are bruised or meat that isn’t as fresh as it should be. Take the time to inspect your food before you place it in your cart. It only takes a few extra minutes to determine if what you are going to buy is still fresh or if it has been sitting on the stalls for too long.


Another good idea is to take a look at your fridge before you leave for the grocery store. Make a list of what you already have in order to avoid buying it again. For more tips on how to avoid wasting food, take a look at this article over on the Whole Foods Market 

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