Food: Too Good to Waste

Make small changes in the way you shop for, prepare, and store your food. Try one or more of these tips to save money and stop food waste.

 Shop with meals in mind.

Plan your meals

Make a weekly meal plan. Keep a running list of meals that your household enjoys.

Shop at home first

Check your fridge, freezer, and pantry for any ingredients you already have before you go shopping.

Stick to your plan

Use a shopping list phone app or use this smart shopping list of what you need for your meal plan. Include quantities so you buy only what you need. Avoid large containers of produce unless you know you have plans to eat it all.

 Prep now and eat later.

Prep right from the store

  • Wash, chop, peel, cook, or portion ingredients for your weekly meals and snacks after you get home from the store or on the weekend. Store prepped food in clear containers and place them near the front of your fridge. Label the container with the prep date using masking tape.

  • Prepare and cook perishable items, then freeze them for use throughout the month. For example, bake and freeze chicken breasts or fry and freeze taco meat.

Use your freezer

  • Befriend your freezer and visit it often. Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.

  • Write the name of the item and the freeze date on the bag or container.

  • Keep of list of what is in your freezer on the outside of the fridge. Include the date you froze each item. Cross out items as you use them.

  • Use containers with good seals or thick plastic bags to prevent freezer burns.

 Keep it fresh.

Learn how to store your favorite foods

Print this handy fruit and vegetable storage guide (pdf) to learn where to store the fruits and vegetables you buy to keep them fresher longer.

Use the Still Tasty Shelf Life Guide or Save the Food storage guide to learn the best way to store your favorite foods.

Keep it separated

As some fruits ripen, they give off a gas that causes other produce to ripen quickly and go bad. Store fruits like ripe bananas, avocados, apples, and tomatos away from other produce. Store veggies and fruit in separate fridge drawers.

 Eat what you buy.

Designate an “eat soon” area in your fridge by moving food that's likely to spoil soon to the front of a shelf. Print and attach this label to the shelf, on a shoebox or other container to corral food that needs to be eaten soon.