In the United States, about 40% of all food goes to waste. That waste costs a family of four about $1,500 each year and results in nearly 3 pounds of trash every day.
Here are some ways to reduce your food waste, spend less, and eat well!
• Reduce your food waste at home. Make a list before you shop. Purchase only the amount of food that you need for the meals you will be eating at home. Avoid exotic ingredients that are needed for a single recipe. Adjust recipes to make the amount your family needs. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer.
• Shop your own fridge and pantry. Look for items you need to use up and then search online for recipes that require them. You might discover a new family favorite!
• Reduce food waste at restaurants. If portions are large, share a full order with your companion. When you are full, put leftovers into a carry-out container. Better yet, bring your own reusable container from home and put leftovers into it. Remember to eat the leftovers soon!
• Mark one refrigerator shelf as the “eat first” section and put leftovers and items nearing their “best-by” dates there.
• Freeze food for future use. If you bought too many carrots, you can chop them up and freeze them. They’ll be ready to toss into a nice soup next winter. Green peppers and onions can be chopped, frozen, and pulled out to add to meatloaf or omelets.
• Create your own vegetable stock. Toss wilting vegetables and aging spices into a pot of water and let it simmer. Cool and freeze the stock for later use.
• Learn to make jams and jellies and homemade salsa to use up extra fruits and vegetables.
• Share unwanted food with friends and coworkers. Do you have leftover birthday cake? Invite a neighbor over for a slice or take the extra to work.
• Donate unneeded food products to local food banks and other charitable organizations. Go through your non-perishable boxed and canned goods regularly. If an item has been sitting in your pantry for six or more months, you probably aren’t going to use it. Give it to someone who will use it.
• Give away excess garden produce. Share nature’s bounty with friends, neighbors, and coworkers.
• Compost your food scraps. You can compost fruit and vegetable scraps, as well as bread, pasta, grains, coffee grounds, and tea bags, in your backyard compost bin or pile. Bury the food about 10 inches below the surface to discourage unwanted visitors. You can also compost food scraps in a vermicompost (worm composting) bin indoors or an in-ground food composter outdoors.
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