10 Tips to Reduce Food Waste

How to reduce food waste graphic

It’s Part Two of A Year of Less Food Waste. Last week I wrote about the profound impact of food waste on our environment, thanks to the 36 pounds that gets tossed per person each month. This week I bring it home and show you how to begin thinking about reducing waste in your very own kitchen.

The “thinking ” part of the equation is everything here, since the first step in making a change is awareness. Just being conscious of what you routinely put in the garbage may begin to shift your habits. To get you started, I’ve mapped out a series of steps to minimize waste. If you have any tips of your own to offer, I’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

How to Reduce Food Waste

10 Steps to Reduce Food Waste

  1. Shop in Your Own Fridge First — Before you head to the market, know what you have, so you don’t double up on unneeded groceries.
  2. Plan Meals— It helps to have a plan in hand when it comes to minimizing waste. Before you plot out your meals for the week, consider what you already have so you can work those foods into your game plan.
  3. Build an “Eat the Leftovers” Night into your weekly routine. The app Handpick might be useful for this: You plug in foods you have on hand; the app offers suitable recipes using those ingredients. Brilliant.
  4. Rotate what’s in your fridge, so more perishable foods with more current expiration dates are closer to the front.
  5. Invest is clear containers to store leftovers, so you can see what you have. Out of sight is often out of mind, which means food hidden away gets neglected until it’s too late.  Keeping some semblance of order to your pantry, fridge, and freezer can help you keep tabs on what you have.
  6. Make robust use of your freezer. The list of clever ways to use your freezer is endless. Leftovers such as soups, stews, “saucy” casseroles (ie enchiladas), do well in the freezer. When wrapped well, breads, other baked goods, sliced fruit, firm cheeses, along with meat and poultry can all be frozen successfully.
  7. Label foods that go into the freezer. It’s too easy to forget a month from now what exactly it is you popped into that freezer bag.
  8. Pause before you mindlessly toss something. Consider if there is a way it might come in handy that you hadn’t thought of before.
    • That half cup of quinoa could go into lunch the next day.

    • That Parmesan rind could season a pot of minestrone.

    • That apple with two bites out of it could be grated into a pot of oatmeal.

  9. Track your waste. Take this process to a different level of commitment by keeping tabs on what lands in the trash. It can be really satisfying to see your progress and how that translates into savings.
  10. Lastly, if you know you aren’t going to get to untouched, unopened food before it expires, compost it or donate it to a local food bank.

Check out this recipe for no waste “Kitchen Sink” Minestrone along with more handy tips on managing leftovers.

Much gratitude to dietetic intern Grace Voorheis for her work on this series and for developing the food waste infographic featured above.



01.13.2016 at9:38 AM #

Jessica @ Nutritioulicious

Great tips Katie! When I menu plan I always look first to see what’s in my fridge and freezer that I can use for the following week’s meals. Can’t wait to check out that Handpick app. Btw, love the infographic!

01.13.2016 at9:38 AM #

Katie Morford

You’re ahead of the game, Jessica. I’m getting better about surveying the shelves before I head to the market and have quite enjoyed finding ways to repurpose what we have.

01.14.2016 at9:39 AM #

Heather Mason

That infographic is awesome! Great job intern! haha. Food waste is something that really really annoys me. I know in my house we personally waste way too much food, I’m going to use these tips to help crack down on it!

01.14.2016 at9:39 AM #

Katie Morford

Thanks Heather. Honestly, I’m finding just having it on my radar is making a big dent in my own food waste. Maybe you’ll find the same in your house.

02.29.2016 at8:30 AM #

Stacey Caldwell

This is a terrific infographic! i also try to reduce the food waste at home and I have to be really creative sometimes. My kids are very enthusiastic in finding ways to repurpose of food waste and as a general we have fun at home trying to be careful with the food scraps. 🙂 Thanks for the ideas!

02.29.2016 at8:30 AM #

Katie Morford

Thank you Stacy. And yes, it does call on our creativity, but that seems to be part of the fun. Sweet that you’ve got your kids involved.

11.19.2016 at8:48 AM #


Wow, this post is so amazing!

It helped me clarify this big “waste” issue we have been having at our house.

11.19.2016 at8:48 AM #

Katie Morford

So glad!

06.21.2017 at1:13 AM #


I am definitely guilty of tucking the food back in and looking the other way. Great tips! We’ve been doing more batch cooking as we are losing weight- not only does it help with not wasting food, not having as many choices has helped us lose weight too.Thanks katiemorford for these amazing ideas 🙂

06.21.2017 at1:13 AM #

Katie Morford

You are welcome. And I agree…many benefits to batch cooking.

03.19.2018 at2:12 AM #

Anu kapoor

Good Tips!!!!
i am agree with u mam…..
as i am working on this already. Thanks for sharing.

10.18.2022 at8:38 AM #


I am definitely guilty of tucking the food back in and looking the other way. Great tips! We’ve been doing more batch cooking as we are losing weight- not only does it help with not wasting food, not having as many choices has helped us lose weight too.Thanks katiemorford for these amazing ideas

11.11.2022 at11:02 PM #


I have learnt so many things from this article. Thanks for this wonderful blog. I’m wondering is there any process to save food for more than 5 days without a freezer?

11.19.2022 at6:21 AM #


Thanks katiemorford for these amazing ideas 🙂
Los Foodies Magazine!

12.14.2022 at8:55 AM #


Thanks for sharing this informative content to reduce food waste, Do you share any articles related to food poisoning?

01.29.2023 at10:13 AM #


Planning meals in advance can help you make sure you buy only what you need and reduce food waste and Make sure to store food properly in the fridge and pantry to keep it fresh for longer. Thanks for sharing tips to reduce food waste.

01.29.2023 at10:15 AM #


It is very impressing tips to reduce food waste and this blog is beneficial for me. The tips and tricks are very important for everyone. Thanks

02.16.2023 at4:10 AM #

Brian Lara

Well Informative ! Looking foeward to gretting more contents from you .

03.02.2023 at8:54 PM #


Hey, this article is awesome! It’s super helpful and easy to follow, and it really gets you thinking about how you can reduce food waste in your own kitchen. The tips are practical and actionable, and I love that the author encourages readers to track their waste and make use of their freezer. Plus, the writing style is engaging and enjoyable to read. Great job!

03.02.2023 at8:54 PM #

Katie Morford

Thank you!

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