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How not to let your food go to waste

Thursday - 2/6/2014, 3:44am  ET

WASHINGTON -- The most expensive food you'll never eat doesn't necessarily come from an exotic location. Instead, it's the food that spoils in your refrigerator.

Americans waste an estimated 30 to 40 percent of food, according to the Food and Drug Administration. That comes out to $133 billion annually, says EveryDayHealth.com blogger Sally Squires.

"If you spend $100 a week on groceries, that means $30 to $40 of that you're losing because it's going bad," she says. "Throughout the course of a year, that adds up to $1,500 to $2,000."

And it's not just a financial strain on the consumer, it's also bad for the environment.

"When you throw out that food, it goes to a landfill and the landfill produces greenhouse gases ... and that can help foster climate change," she says.

To cut down on this waste, Squires recommends making sure your refrigerator is 40 degrees or less to ensure the food stays fresh.

Also, plan your menu before heading to grocery store. Will you have time to bake that chicken or eat those berries before they become fuzzy? If not, don't buy it.

And consider buying produce that lasts longer like apples, oranges and melons. When it comes to meats and poultry, divide it up into freezer bags and keep it frozen until you're ready to cook, Squires says.

Hear more tips in the full interview below:

Tips on keeping food fresh

Sally Squires, EveryDayHealth.com blogger

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