When Good Food Goes Bad

May 3, 2019

Ever noticed that your fridge is smelly?  When you start pulling things out what do you find? Well my smelly fridge revealed wilted lettuce and a container of moldy yogurt. The partially eaten yogurt had moved to the back of the fridge while someone opened another yogurt. Does this sound familiar? Here are some tips on how you can help reduce food waste this year:

  • Check the best before date.

The best before date tells you that the product will retain its best qualities if stored properly and used by that date (www.inspection.gc.ca).  If family members come shopping, teach them how to read the dates on the product labels. From there, figure out if you will realistically eat the food item before this. Remember to store the new food item behind the open food product. This means new yogurt gets stored behind the open yogurt. Need some help in looking for best before dates on foods? Book a nutrition tour with Save-On-Foods where Registered Dietitians can help you interpret food labeling. Find us at www.saveonfoods.com/nutrition-tours.

  • Reign in bargain instincts:

Who doesn’t love a bargain? If you buy too much of a food item and then throw out the excess it’s not a great saving. Before placing the food in the cart, check to see if your family can eat that much. If bread is on sale check the best before date on the bread before jumping on a deal. A small family can’t eat three loaves of fresh bread fast enough to justify this bargain. But wait – can you keep one loaf out and freeze the other two? For people who live alone, bread can be frozen in half or quarter loaves.

  • Reduce food waste by freezing foods properly.

Bakery items freeze very well – like hot dog and burger buns, muffins etc. The key is to use up frozen items before buying more of the same item. Bread items can generally be frozen for 6 months before they start deteriorating. Freezer bags can help prevent freezer burn or ice crystals on food.  Add the date onto the freezer bag label to keep track of how long food has been in your freezer.  For freezing tips look at the food safety section at www.unlockfood.ca.

  • Make a shopping list.

Making a shopping list helps you plan so you don’t over buy food that you won’t use up. It also avoids additional trips to the store because you forgot something.

  • Put a fresh fruit basket on the kitchen table.

Some fruits do best in the fridge, but apples, bananas, oranges and lots of others don’t need to be kept hidden away in the fridge or a cupboard. The revised Canada’s Food guide recommends half of our plate should be fruit and vegetables. No better way to start than to have a fruit basket on the table. If some of those apples start to wrinkle or the bananas begin to brown, recycle them into smoothies, muffins or a fruit salad. Check out  Canada’s Food Guide web site at https://food-guide.canada.ca

  • Embrace the leftover:

Do leftovers get forgotten until garbage day next week? Have a plan in mind for any uneaten food. For example, last night’s spaghetti sauce can be used on tonight’s pizza.  Leftover vegetables can be recycled into a tasty soup. Need some inspiration on how to upcycle those leftovers? Look at the Save-On-Foods web site for recipe ideas www.saveonfoods.com

Did you know the average Canadian kitchen throws out nearly $1700 worth of groceries every year? Make the commitment to reduce food waste. By reducing your family’s food waste, you save money and help the environment. It’s a win-win situation!

Did you know that Save-On-Foods has committed to reducing store food waste by 50% by 2025? Food Banks and composting programs have all benefitted from this intervention. Together, we can take a bite out of the food waste problem!


Dietitian Maureen Elhatton

Food, glorious food is my passion. From growing my own food, to cooking for family and friends and educating people on the how, when, where and why of nutrition, I love everything about the topic of food. In the summer I grow as many types of fruit and vegetables that my garden space allows. In the winter I love to travel and of course visit food markets in various parts of the world.