How to save $1,000 on your food bill every year

14/12/2015 Healthy Eating, Help for Parents

Cleaning out your fridge, cupboard and fruit bowl can be a frustrating business. How often do you find yourself tossing out fruit and veggies that you swear were only bought a few days ago? It turns out you’re not the only one with this problem – over one third of the rubbish thrown away by NSW households is food, which translates into almost $1,000 per household, per year!

The solution to this issue may be simpler than you think. Making appropriate purchase and storage decisions can prolong the lives of fruit and veg, and reduce waste at the same time. Below are some quick and easy tips to do just that.

8 quick ‘savings’ tips:

  1. Separate your fruit from your veggies. Some fruits release ripening agents that can ripen any innocent nearby vegetables. Bananas are particularly guilty of this, and should be kept separate.
  2. Avoid storing fruit or veg in airtight bags or containers; this speeds up their deterioration.
  3. Once ripe, most fruit should be stored in the fridge.
  4. Buy seasonal fruit and veg. The fresher the food, the more time you have before its quality deteriorates.
  5. If possible, buy local. Find out where your nearest farmers’ markets are. The less time from farm to table, the better.
  6. This is an obvious tip… but always use up your most perishable foods first!
  7. Plan your meals. Make a shopping list of your perishable foods and the exact amount you need so you don’t overbuy.
  8. It’s okay to buy frozen or canned fruit or vegetables. These foods often have equal or even higher nutritional value than fresh fruit and veg because they are often frozen or canned shortly after harvest. Be sure to choose low sodium/salt canned vegetables, and opt for fruit canned in natural juice rather than sugary syrup.

And if, despite your best intentions, you do end up with fruit and veg that has seen better days, get creative! Wilted or soft veggies can be made into tasty, healthy soups and stocks, and overripe fruit can be made into jams, used in baking or simply blended into a smoothie.

Another important reason to store your fruit and veg appropriately is food safety. Kids can be particularly vulnerable to harmful mould and bacteria in food because of their young immune systems. So be sure to clean out your fridge and fruit bowl regularly, and store fruit and veg above, or well away from, raw foods such as eggs, meat and seafood.

For more information on reducing food waste at home, visit Love Food Hate Waste.