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How to Reduce Food Waste - A Caregiver's Guide

April 25, 2024

As a caregiver, you constantly juggle responsibilities, striving to provide the best care for your loved ones. Cooking is an essential part of your responsibilities. 

But have you thought about what to do with food waste? It's easy to overlook the amount of food that goes uneaten, but it adds up over time, leading to wasted financial resources, too. 

April is Earth Month, which reminds us of our shared responsibility toward sustainable living. It’s the perfect time to reevaluate how to minimize waste when throwing away food. Let’s explore practical steps to reduce food waste, ensuring we care for our planet as much as we do for our family members.

When Storing Food, What is the Best Way to Prevent Food Waste?

If you're trying to figure out what to do with food waste, here are a few ideas. 

Mastering Food Storage Techniques

Proper food storage is crucial to waste prevention. By understanding the ideal conditions for storing fruits, vegetables, and other perishables, we can significantly extend their freshness. 

First, check the temperatures of your fridge and freezer. If this is different from your recipient of care’s appliances, check theirs too! The FDA recommends keeping the refrigerator at 40° F or below and the freezer at 0° F.

Next, follow the following best practices when it comes to storing your food: 

  • Use airtight containers and/or vacuum sealers. 
  • Watch “Best if Used By” dates and use food by that date. 
  • Keep your fridge organized. Put foods that will expire near the front, and either eat or freeze them before they go bad.  

Creative Cooking with Leftovers

Before throwing away food, consider how leftovers can serve as the foundation for a new meal. Soups, stews, and casseroles are excellent for incorporating various leftovers into a delicious and nutritious new dish. For example, leftovers from a roasted chicken can be cut up and made into soup.

When you meal prep, plan for leftovers. This approach not only saves money but also teaches us to view food through a lens of resourcefulness and sustainability.

The Art of Composting

What can you do with food waste that cannot be saved or repurposed? Composting is a fantastic way to give food scraps a second life. 

While meat and dairy products aren't suitable for composting, fruit peels, vegetable cuttings, coffee grounds, and eggshells are perfect candidates. Composting helps reduce methane emissions from landfills and can provide nutrient-rich soil for gardening, contributing to a greener planet. Read this article for tips and tricks on composting.

Educate Your Loved Ones

An essential aspect of reducing food waste is education. Learning about the impact of food waste and sharing this knowledge with your recipients of care can lead to collective action. 

Encourage others to adopt habits such as meal planning, proper food storage, and composting. The more you can spread awareness, the more significant your impact on reducing food waste and its environmental consequences will be. 

At Best Care, we understand the unique challenges and responsibilities of family caregiving. From tips on reducing food waste to providing the best possible care for your loved ones, we're here to support you with all your questions related to family caregiving. 

Adult and child washing broccoli at the kitchen sink.
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