Aussies throw out 1 in every 5 bags of groceries they buy. That’s a heck of a lot of food – so much that when the City of Sydney did a residential waste audit in 2008, and found that  40% of the average Sydneysider’s bin was made up of food waste. But with cafes just a few steps away, and dinner just a click away, it’s easy to have more food than you know what to do with…

1.       Write a shopping list

We all know our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, so make sure you don’t go shopping without a list, or even worse, when you’re hungry.

2.      Check the fridge and pantry before you shop

Do a quick check before you leave the house so you don’t over buy. Most of us forget to check the fridge before we go out and buy all the ingredients for a recipe, only to find we already had them at home.

3.      Freeze your left overs

If you cook too much, freeze what’s left over and you’ll have a handy meal the next time you don’t feel like cooking. Easy!

4.      Ditch the bin and make compost

If food is off and it can’t be eaten, bypass the bin and pop it in the compost. There are tonnes of new designs emerging that are perfect for urban kitchens (read: no smell).

5.      Cook existing food before buying takeaway

Struggling for inspiration for that errant leek rumbling around in your vegie crisper? The folks at OzHarvest have combined the best tips from chefs such as Neil Perry, Maggie Beer and Matt Moran to give you great ideas about how to build delicious meals from leftover food (great for those last few days before pay day, too).

6.       Be use-by-date savvy

Check the use-by date when you purchase food to ensure it won’t go off if not eaten immediately, or focus on buying good quality local food that has a longer shelf life. Also, educate yourself about when food goes off. Just because bananas are looking a bit funky, doesn’t mean they don’t taste delish in banana bread.

7.      Shop more, buy less

Purchase a small amount of fresh food every day, rather than heaps of food every week. That way you won’t end up with stuff at the end of the week that you haven’t used and don’t need.

8.      Store food properly

Ensure dairy and perishables are never left on the counter, and your fridge and freezer are checked and maintained to keep your little produce goodies in tiptop condition.

9.      Use every bit of your fresh produce

If chef Kylie Kwong prides herself on keeping unused scraps for her amazing broths and sauces, you can too.

10.  Pick the funny-looking ones

A lot of fresh produce doesn’t even leave the farm they were grown on as they don’t meet our ‘perfect’ requirements for fruits and vegies. So go ahead, start a movement that accepts perfectly tasty vegies that look a lil’ funny.

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