How to Stop Wasting All that Food!
There are environmental, societal, and of course financial reasons for not wasting food. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates the amount of food wasted in the U.S. by a typical family of four translates to between $1,365 and $2,275 a year. That’s money families could be using for many useful things, from saving for retirement or college, to saving up for a great trip! It’s also money that could be donated to help feed the hungry.
How to waste less food
The good news is that you don’t have to do anything complicated or expensive to stop wasting food.
Plan your meals. Have a plan for what you’re going to eat for your meals during the week. Make a shopping list and only buy those groceries. If you purchase a shopping cart full of fresh produce with no plan, chances are it will go to waste. Make a realistic plan and stick with it.
Food Saver System-Watch This Video!!
- Kit includes: (1) 11″x10′ Roll, (3) Qt Heat-Seal Bags, (2) Gal Heat-Seal Bags
- Manual operation with 2 vacuum speeds, Easy Operation: Vacuums, seals and shuts off automatically with a single touch
- Moist/Dry food settings for optimal sealing
- Crush Free Instant Seal helps protect delicate foods during sealing process
- Convenient roll holder and bag cutter
- FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing Systems are engineered to work best with FoodSaver bags and rolls
Find recipes to use all the ingredients you purchase. A recipe that calls for one cup of broccoli and two tablespoons of fresh parsley leaves you with lots of both left over. As you meal plan, look for other recipes that use those same ingredients. That fresh parsley? Maybe you can use it on a pasta recipe one night and a soup recipe later in the week. You’ll save money up front and avoid food waste.
Avoid impulse buys. Stick to your meal-planning list. Don’t go into the grocery store hungry, only to end up with a shopping cart full of foods you later throw away. Overbuying is one of the biggest causes of food waste.
Use your scraps. Even with the best meal planning and recipe choices food scraps still will appear in your refrigerator. Use them up! Add vegetable and herb scraps to soups or scrambled eggs, or throw them in a rice bowl. Be creative. Don’t let them spoil in your refrigerator.
Freeze fresh food to use later. Herbs can be chopped, labeled, and put in little freezer bags. Make pesto from your leftover basil, freeze it in ice-cube trays, and then pop those into small freezer bags to use in soups and sauces. Vegetables that look a little tired — such as celery, carrots, onions, parsley — can also be frozen and later thrown into a stockpot to make vegetable stock.
Use ripened fruits in desserts before they spoil. Have four nectarines turning the corner or three bananas with more black spots than yellow? Grab them and make a quick dessert before they all go to waste. Banana bread or muffins are simple to make out of dark bananas. Or make a crisp using ripened stone fruit with an oatmeal topping.
Donate. Going out of town and have a fruit bowl full of apples or a bag of lettuce in the refrigerator? Find a neighbor or family member who can use it or check your local food banks and soup kitchens to see if they accept fresh food. Find ways to give it to those who could use it instead of throwing it away.
Serve smaller portions. Most Americans put portions that are far too large on their plate, which can easily go to waste. This especially is true for children’s servings. Serve a small amount of each food. If you’re hungry you can always get more. When eating at a restaurant order appetizers for your meal or share an entrée. If you do go for a bigger meal make sure to eat your leftovers the very next day. If you wait longer, chances are those leftovers will get thrown away.
When you stop wasting food, you can feel good about helping the environment — and about the extra money you’ll have in your wallet.