All of us love food, whether it be eating, cooking, or taking pictures of our meals. Let me take a quick second, though, to talk about the other end of the food cycle – food waste. Okay, okay, I know this might sound boring, but hear me out. Spoon is going to be throwing you tons of exciting recipe ideas that we hope you’ll all love and recreate in your dorm rooms and apartments. You might love them so much that you find yourself making a portion or five too many, or buying too many bunches of kale and having to throw it out.

So listen up camels: here are five quick and easy ways to be a more conscious food consumer and creator, and to ensure that you’re getting the most out of what you’re spending time, effort, and money on (because, let’s face it, as college students, we don’t have much of those to begin with).

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1. Bring a recipe list with you to the grocery store.

Photo by Grace Robertson

Each recipe on Spoon includes the quantities of ingredients needed. When you go to the store, be sure to bring a list of ingredients and all their quantities so that you don’t accidentally buy too much. For foodies, all the choices in a grocery store can be tempting, so coming in with a game plan will also help prevent you from shopping compulsively.

2. Buy bulk spices, teas, and herbs from Fiddleheads.

Photo by Grace Robertson

So you decide you want to make a delicious curry following a recipe that calls for tons of different spices. Instead of going to Shop Rite and buying huge containers of each that you may not ever touch again, go to Fiddleheads’ bulk section to get only as much as you need for your recipe. These are some of the few products that are actually more affordable to get at Fiddleheads than at another grocery store, because of bulk pricing.

3. Keep older stuff in the front of your refrigerator.

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We’ve all experienced finding something we forgot about long ago, whether it be leftovers or old groceries rotting in the back of your fridge, hidden by other things that you’ve bought and shoved in the fridge since. Gross and super wasteful, right? A way to prevent this is putting your new groceries in the back, and pulling the older stuff to the front of your fridge. That way, you’re more likely to use up to the older groceries before you forget about them and they go bad. Saves you the mess and the guilt – win-win.

4. Be creative

Photo by Liz Green

Now that you can see all your ingredients at the front of your fridge, get creative with how you can use everything up. Pretend you’re on Chopped and throw together some awesome leftover-remixed meal, or look up other ways ingredients can be used and try cooking something you’ve never cooked before. The possibilities are endless.

SpoonTip: check out Love Food Hate Waste for creative leftover recipe ideas and other little things you can do to reduce food waste.

5. Drop your compost off at Winchester 6.

Photo by Liz Green

Even if you are awesome and follow all of the above, sometimes you’re inevitably going to be left with some things you just can’t use up, because no matter how hard you try, you just can’t think of a good way of using banana peels other than pranking your roommate a few times. In those cases, go compost whatever is compostable.

Lucky for you guys, Winchester House #6 has set up a composting bin in their backyard. Just collect your food scraps and dump them in the composting bin. To save time, keep your compost in tupperware or a bag in your fridge and bring it over once a week. Not only will you help reduce food waste at Conn, but you’ll prevent getting fruit flies in your dorm room, and you’ll also get a bit of a work out walking down to the Winchester houses.