I recently read an article in the Urban Farm magazine that discussed how to reduce your food waste. I found it very informative. Since we are currently in a season of consumption, we can all learn some new tips on reducing our food waste. We also need to reduce our food waste since according to a New York Times article, Americans waste one pound of food per day per person. That is a staggering number.
Here is what Urban Farm suggests:
- Shop smarter and smaller: Make a grocery list and stick to it. If you make a grocery list, you know exactly what you need and what you will use (hopefully everything on the list). Making a weekly meal plan can help with knowing what you need. If you have leftovers you can plan accordingly by reusing them in another meal or enjoying them as is; there are even phone apps that help with this problem. By making a grocery list and meal plan and sticking to them, you can also help your wallet.
- Store your food well: By having your food in clear containers you know exactly what is in the fridge. Unknown items do not get overlooked and forgotten, then tossed out after a couple of weeks. Also make sure to give your fridge a thorough look through often so leftovers don’t get lost in the back and forgotten about.
- Watch portion size: Know how much you eat and how much you need to eat. By doing this you are less likely to cook too much. Cooking too much leads to unwanted leftovers, that are then tossed out and wasted. Also, if you are eating out make sure to know how big portions are before ordering. Either plan on sharing or taking home leftovers if portions are too big (they most likely are) to finish in one sitting.
- Be creative with leftovers: If you know you are cooking a dish that will yield a lot of leftovers, try to plan ahead on ways to re-use those leftovers. Try re-working them into another dish instead of just eating the same leftover over and over again. For example, black bean soup can be cooked down for quesadillas or made into chili.
- Your freezer is your friend: Don’t be afraid to freeze leftovers. Soups, bread items and burger/patties are great item for freezing. This also makes it easier for you down the line when a quick dinner is needed. Freezing is helpful for when too much food is purchased and you are unable to find ways to use it.
- Dates are not regulated by any agency
- They are meant for the grocery store not the consumer. Grocery stores need to sell fresh products and dates help to ensure that.
- We have all had milk be bad before the date or last long after that best-by-date, so don’t worry too much about them. Use your best judgement and your sense of smell to know if something is worth saving or chucking.
- Compost food waste: When excess food is not salvageable, compost it if possible. This allows you still ‘use’ it in a way without having to throw it in the trash. This is also helpful for scraps when cooking. If you garden, composting is a must.