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On average, most Americans throw away about 40% of purchased foods. 91% of consumers disposed of food because the sell by date had passed and the food was thought to be unsafe.  Wasting food not only throws money down the drain but also impacts the environment.  You can reduce your carbon footprint and keep money in your pocket by taking a few steps to reduce food waste in your household.

Store Foods Correctly: Storing food correctly helps keep foods fresher longer.  Knowing which foods need to be refrigerated and which foods need to be room temperature is half the battle when figuring out how to store foods correctly.  If you are serious about long term, effective weight-loss, your fridge will be stocked with fresh produce, so knowing how to store them correctly will be very helpful.  For example, fruit and produce should be stored in the middle or bottom drawer.  One of the drawers typically has humidity control, which helps keep produce cool but not too cold.  It is also important to note that you should not overcrowd your fridge or pantry.  This helps you have a good idea of what is in stock and helps increase airflow in the fridge. 

Properly Reading Food Labels: Sell by dates do not actually identify food safety but food quality.  If a sell by date has passed, rely on your senses to determine if the food is spoiled. Trusting your instinct is important, too.  Read more about food labels here.

Shop Smart: When grocery shopping, be sure to shop smart and intentionally.  This may require more trips to the grocery store, but it will minimize waste.  Plan your weight-loss meals, and make your shopping lists based on those planned meals.  If you live far from a grocery store, you will have to be very intentional about how you shop.  One of the keys to effective weight-loss is meal planning. So, shopping smart not only helps minimize food waste and save money but it will help you stay on track.

Eat Leftovers: Planning meals will help minimize food waste, but you still may end up with leftovers from prepared meals.  Do not let those meals go to waste.  Be sure to properly store and label your leftovers.  If you are not a fan of leftovers, there are many ways you can spice them up.  Get creative and have fun doing it. 

Donate to Food Banks: When cleaning out the pantry, instead of tossing everything that you do not think you are going to eat, consider donating to a local food pantry.

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