Go Further with Food: Nutritionists’ Tips to Stretch a Buck, Shop Smarter, and Cut Back on Food Waste
Nothing pains me more than wasting money on food, or worse, wasting food itself. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted globally. I hate that I am a part of that number! I’ve tried a few times to cut back on our spending and food waste, but have a bad habit of over buying and tossing half of it in the trash a couple of weeks later. I’ve made several attempts to reform, but have not had lasting success. Luckily, I work with some very savvy shoppers, meal planners, and excellent cooks. I turned to them to share a few of their favorite ways to make food go further.
Tip: Buy 'em Cheap and Ugly
- Alexandria Hast, PhD, RDN: Savvy Shopper & Ugly Produce Fan
- When it comes to managing our food budget, my husband will tell you I’m the queen of coupons and bargain shopping. While you won’t find me with a decade’s supply of toiletries and cereal in my basement, I know my way around the Sunday paper, coupon apps, and the quick sale racks. I get the most out of my coupons by saving them to use on sale items. I also frequent the discount racks, especially for fresh items. Slightly bruised or extra ripe produce can still have a lot of life left and cost a fraction of the price of the freshly stocked produce. I buy discount packs of peppers at a huge savings, then, I immediately cut them up and freeze them to use later. This trick saves my family money and cuts back on food waste at the store.
Tip: Get Your Pulses Going
- Anita Shaffer, RDN: Non-traditional protein provider
- Move over chicken, there are other proteins in town. Beans and peas are less expensive than meat and these plant-based protein foods provide fiber, iron, folate and are important to digestive health. Want some? Try Hearty Vegetarian Chili, Mashed White Bean and Basil Sandwich, and Cauliflower and Lentil Stew as delicious ways to add more plant protein into meals. Nuts and seeds can also add protein, better-for-you fats, and flavor and texture to dishes. Indian -Spiced Chickpeas and Farro is a delicious recipe that pairs beans and almonds for a protein punch with a little bit of crunch. Canned and dried beans are also shelf stable, so you can stay stocked up without worrying about waste.
Tip: Please Move to the Back of the Line
- Ericha Grace, MS, NDTR: FIFO Aficionado
- An unorganized fridge can lead to spills, moldy messes and “questionable” meat. The First-in, First-out (“FIFO”) method cuts down on food waste and saves you money. Restaurants, professional kitchens, and supermarkets use FIFO to make sure they use or sell all their food before it goes bad. Use FIFO in your own home to help you stay organized and keep track of your pantry and fridge. When you restock your fridge and pantry, put your newer items behind the older ones. Once you open a packaged good, be sure to write the date on the lid so you know how long it has been open. FIFO can help you save money and avoid throwing away expired foods, all while making the most of your food storage space.
What’s Old Becomes New Again: Transform Leftovers
- Trish Zecca, MS: Time-Strapped Home Chef
- I love cooking, but I can’t do it every night, and my hubby and kids hate leftovers. I save time and keep dinner interesting by transforming leftovers into a new meal for another night without starting from scratch. For example, Sunday dinner might be salmon, brown rice, and assorted veggies. I make extra salmon to use in salmon burgers another night. Extra brown rice and veggies become a black bean burrito bowl for Monday with a can of lower sodium, black beans and Pace® salsa. Later in the week, I might make a double batch of chicken and serve once with veggies and couscous and another time with pasta topped with Prego Farmers’ Market® Tomato Basil Italian sauce. Transforming leftovers reduces food waste, saves me time, and keeps dinner delicious and inventive.
Tip: Stock up Sailor Style
- Kate Williams, RDN: Commands order among veggies and fruit
- I consider myself a very thoughtful shopper and an excellent budgeter. But, I learned one of my favorite tips when my husband was in the Navy. Before a deployment at sea, the ship was stocked with a variety of fresh and packaged fruits and veggies. The crew would use up their fresh fruits and vegetables before moving onto canned products. Now, we use this same practice at home. I aim for 1/3 of each, fresh, frozen and canned. I plan meals to use up the fresh items, like mushrooms and bananas early in the week, then move onto canned and frozen goods like canned peas, frozen corn and jarred applesauce. This helps us avoid throwing away spoiled produce or making multiple trips to the grocery store with three kids in tow.
Go Further with Food
Campbell Global Nutrition Team
For Campbell Global Nutrition team bios visit Meet Our Experts page.
Ericha Grace, MS, NDTREricha is a contractor within the Global Nutrition team supporting nutrition labeling and ingredient approvals while also providing nutrition support to the Americas brands. Ericha was previously an intern for Global Nutrition and Regulatory Affairs and returned as a contractor in December 2016. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from West Chester University in 2016 and recently completed her Master of Science in Community Nutrition this past August, also at WCU. Ericha is a Nutrition and Dietetic Technician, Registered.
Kate Williams, RDNKate received her bachelor's degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over ten years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Campbell Soup Company since 2005.