A Rocket Scientist’s Top Tip for Preventing Food Waste? Using an ‘Eat First’ Box

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"Everyone has that one thing that always goes bad before they get the chance to eat it. (In my case, baby carrots.) Here's how to solve the problem for good."

Eating everything in your fridge before it goes bad is nothing short of a challenge. And there’s no worse feeling than finding a sad-looking container of strawberries in the back of your fridge that’s well past its prime. But Anita Vandyke, MD, a rocket scientist, doctor, and creator of the popular Instagram account @rocket_science, has a hack that will solve the problem for good.

Dr. Vandyke says when you know what’s causing you to waste food (aka an overly-packed fridge that makes it hard to see everything you need to eat), you have the perfect opportunity to work on creating a solution. That’s how the “Eat First” box was born. Whenever she spots something that’s about to expire, she sticks it in the container so she’s reminded to use it up first.

food going bad in fridge
Photo: Instagram/@rocket_science

“Create an ‘eat first’ box and put it on the top shelf of your fridge so everyone in the household knows what to use up first,” she wrote on Instagram. “Put in vegetables, fruit, or sauces that are close to its used by date and encourage everybody to use them up.”

Sometimes the biggest problems have the simplest fixes, and this trick is proof. Just grab any empty container you have on hand and turn it into a go-to spot for everything destined for the compost. Food going bad in the fridge will be a thing of the past. “It’s a great way to save money, prevent food waste, and allows you to share the load with other people in the household,” she says.

Extra bonus: The “eat first” box also helps you get more creative in the kitchen. It’s almost like you’re competing in a cooking show. Grab the container, scope out what items you have, and try to come up with a delicious meal. (Recipe inspo here!) Every week, you’ll be trying something new—and having a whole lot of fun in the process.

Curious about a zero waste lifestyle? Want to know what the “circular economy” really means? Subscribe to Brightly’s top-rated podcast, Good Together. Every 30-minute episode features daily, actionable tips to help you live your life more sustainably.

Everyone has that one thing that always goes bad before they get the chance to eat it. (In my case, baby carrots.) Here's how to solve the problem for good.

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