Food waste in the United States has reached unimaginable levels. The Guardian estimates that half of all perfectly good produce is thrown away, both “upstream” at the farms and “downstream” in groceries, restaurants, and households. Reducing your personal food waste will not only help address this epidemic, but can also save you time and money! Below are some simple tips and tools to reduce your food waste.
Plan Your Meals
Ready to save money and the environment? Introducing the Guestimator! This handy tool will help you calculate how much food you need to feed any party, including those voracious teenagers and picky in-laws. With their measurements, you’ll reduce the amount of leftover ingredients that tend to rot in the back of the fridge. Plus, you’ll save money by buying only as much as you need!
For smaller family meals, you might enjoy this Meal Kit Catalog from Handpick, a selection of yummy recipes that share ingredients. Take the guesswork out of grocery shopping and meal preparation and try some yummy new recipes at the same time!
Cook Those Leftovers
The average American dumps 3.5 pounds of leftovers a week, but it can be hard to make week-old food appetizing again. Our solution? Dump the microwave! All of us are guilty of shoving leftover ingredients to the back of the fridge in favor of fresher, exciting food, but these tips from Save the Food can help revive that perfectly good food into a totally new entree. You’ll find creative recipes from falafel to browned-banana bread! Save the Food also offers simple ways to revive meals gone awry, whether burned, stale, or overcooked.
Afraid of reheating pasta or rice to dried-out oblivion? Check out these tips for pasta with and without sauce, and perfectly fluffy rice! And these leftover recipes from BBC Good Food help you reuse everything from wilted salads to stale bread.
Re-think Expiration Dates
Did you know “best-by” dates on food aren’t a good indicator of food safety? The next time you do a refrigerator purge, ignore those cryptic codes and use Eat By Date as a reference. For any iffy food item, Eat By Date offers information on shelf life, storage tips, and even creative ways to use extra food before it expires!
The best way to extend the shelf life of your food even further is to store it properly. Check out these tips on proper food storage from Save the Food — they have tips on refrigeration, freezing, and even reviving stale staples!
Get Involved in the Effort to Save Food!
If you like these tips for reducing personal food waste, consider getting involved in your local community effort to save edible food. Whether you’re interested in gleaning overlooked produce from local farms, starting a community composting movement, or signing a petition to ask grocery stores to redistribute leftover produce, there are plenty of ways to help!
Even your weekly grocery shopping can make a difference. Consider supporting or starting a local co-op grocery store – click here to find one near you! Since they’re run democratically by you and your neighbors, co-ops tailor their ordering and waste less food.
Co-ops are leaders in sustainable practices like recycling and composting, and are committed to reducing carbon output through local food distributors. Plus, many co-ops offer discounts or monthly dividends for member-owners, so you can get money back on your healthy groceries!
However you choose to reduce food waste, it takes a community to foster change: consider sharing this article with your friends with the links below!