Wasted food equals wasted money: save money on food and stay healthy


PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — In a time when money is so tight, especially with what we spend on food, any means of saving helps.

So how can you save $2,000 a year on groceries?

You’ve already bought them, you’ve spent your hard-earned cash, and they’re waiting to be eaten, and yet, in staggering numbers, they end up in the trash.

When going out to the grocery store, the last thing you would do is throw your bags in the trash.

“At least 40% of food is wasted every day,” said nutritionist Leslie Bonci.

Bonci said that in restaurants, cafeterias and our homes, it will never feed us and it can be very big numbers – like in dollars.

“Over the course of a year, in every American household, at least $2,000 — that’s what you throw away, that’s a lot of money,” she said.

Bonci said this comes in the form of food allowed to expire or leftovers allowed to remain beyond edibility.

“The fridge is where leftovers go to die,” she said. “It’s become the kitchen sink, literally, and that’s a problem.”

Now checking the price and cringing at the grocery store has become the norm, so how can we save money?

“Before you go to the grocery store, take a look around and see what you already have,” Bonci recommended. “Look what’s there, if you have stuff nearing the expiration date, use it!”

With a little creativity, she said a good idea is to challenge yourself to create a meal with just what’s on hand and not spend a penny.

“It’s a win all the way,” she said, explaining that the refrigerator is an extension of the usefulness of food. “Remember things that don’t keep forever, especially if they’re in the fridge. That means it’s perishable.”

This especially applies to leftovers.

“If you’re doing fish, chicken, meat, and it’s in the fridge — two to three days tops,” Bonci said.

Another way to reduce waste, according to Bonci, is to make less of it, or “make the effort to make something and freeze it so you don’t have to eat the same meal the next day.”

Bonci said this option is a pleasant surprise when you open the freezer and remember that a delicious meal is there.

The biggest mistake people make is buying something they already have or buying too much, which makes it easy to put things in the fridge and forget they’re there.

A quick and easy way to get around is to use storage bags or containers, so you can see what’s inside.

How do we compare to other countries when it comes to food waste?

Among the rich countries, we are among the top five with China, India, Germany and Japan.

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