Skip to Content

Easy tips for a

greenerfridge and pantry

Whoever first uttered the expression "waste not, want not" must've been referring to our relationship to food. Try as we might, the average Canadian household produces up to 140 kilograms of food waste every year, and 63% of the food that Canadians throw out is still edible1. Perhaps you've noticed food waste becoming a growing concern in your home. We've got plenty of tips and tricks to help you and your family waste less while continuing to enjoy delicious meals. Remember: When it comes to your kitchen, no change is too small or insignificant, and some of the most meaningful changes are easy enough for anyone to do!

Make a grocery list

If you're looking to make an immediate change, this initial step is easy to apply! Designate one day to think about what meals you'd like to prep for the week ahead, a fun activity for the whole family that can involve leafing through cookbooks, finding recipes online, or trying out new ideas. Stick to quick and easy recipes that don't require a long list of ingredients. Once you've made a game plan, map out all your meals to have a concrete idea of what ingredients you'll need. Planning is a meaningful way to reduce food waste.

...And stick to it

We've all been there: browsing the aisles at the grocery store and tossing items into the shopping cart because they look too irresistible to pass up. But these spontaneous purchases all too often wind up going stale in our cupboards. Your best bet for mitigating food waste is sticking to the plan and buying only the ingredients you've written down on your list.

Take inventory

Before you head out the door to do groceries, take stock of what's already in your fridge or pantry, so you aren't doubling up on items you already have. A quick inventory gives you fresh ideas for using the ingredients already in your kitchen and serves as a reminder of what's left to pick up from your game plan grocery list.

Share the love

Made a few too many portions? It happens! Sometimes, recipes wind up yielding more than enough, and we don't correctly ration out the remainder. Instead of packaging it all up and storing it in the fridge or freezer, why not share it with a neighbour, friend, or loved one? They say that sharing is caring, and what better way to show someone you love them than with a scrumptious meal.

Buy less bulk

One of the biggest food waste culprits is our tendency to buy excessive amounts of food. Try to limit the quantities you purchase — although large bulk items at reasonable prices may seem enticing; you're only really saving money if all that food gets eaten, which, more often than not, it doesn’t. Nobody wants the unpleasant surprise of finally getting around to that bulk item only to find it spoiled!

Leverage those leftovers

If your fridge is teeming with loads of leftovers, it's time to get creative. A staple item like cheese gets a second life when incorporated into new recipes. An easy recipe, like this breakfast casserole made with spinach and Cheddar cheese, combines tons of leftovers to transform it into a dish that goes a long way.

Soups for days

A puréed soup is another solution for leftovers — especially if it involves all that delicious leftover cheese! Try a recipe like a creamy leek soup, made with Armstrong extra old Cheddar cheese and bacon, a rich soup with an irresistibly smoky flavour, courtesy of the crispy bacon. Extra old Cheddar adds savoury flavour and depth to the mix. Layering cheese into soup is a great way to give it body, but be sure to use cheeses with high-moisture content like sharp Old Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese or Pizza Mozzarella cheese.

The classic mac

One of the tastiest ways to use up leftover cheese is the fan favourite, mac n’ cheese. We've got some tips on how you can mix up your mac n’ cheese using ingredients you already have – try it homemade! There is no shortage of ways to get creative with this classic, from incorporating cauliflower or green veggies to serving into bite-sized portions baked into mini cups.

Storage solutions

With foods like dairy products, proper storage goes a long way towards extending their freshness. No one wants to eat cheese that's gone bad, but it shouldn’t get to that point if stored properly. If you're concerned with dairy products going to waste, try purchasing one-and-done individually-wrapped cheese sticks, sliced cheeses or bags of shredded cheese instead: a perfectly portioned amount of cheese that will leave you with no leftovers.

What should I do with my leftovers?

If you’ve wound up with some leftover cheese and aren’t sure what to do with it, our advice is to follow the package instructions. Cheese products should be kept refrigerated at a maximum temperature of 4°C and should always be kept sealed. If you’re wondering how to properly store a specific type of food, we recommend that you consult the Health Canada guidelines for Fridge and Freezer storage to ensure you’re following government-recommended food and safety tips for your family’s protection.

Preserve foods with proper storage

Did you know that fluctuating fridge temperatures can cause food to spoil prematurely? That's why we strongly recommend not storing dairy on the fridge door. Because you open the door often throughout the day, it's more likely to expose dairy products to shifting temperatures, causing them to go bad. Instead, store your cheese on a middle shelf in the fridge to lock in the freshness. Place hard cheeses in a designated refrigerator-safe "cheese box," a spot in the refrigerator made to store all the different varieties you've got in stock. By the way, if the product comes in resealable cheese packaging, keep it in there as it's designed to lock out air and moisture.

From saving you money on groceries to encouraging you and your family to get a little creative with the ingredients you already have on hand, reducing food waste has no downside. Now that you know just how easy these changes are to make, you'll see a difference in your daily life in no time at all.


1 National Zero Waste Council