According to the USDA, the United States wastes an estimated 30-40% of its food supply. This equates to about 133 BILLION pounds of wasted food.Reducing food waste at home will save money, conserve resources, and support the community. Here are our top 5 tips to start improving your food waste strategies!
- Know what you have
Look through the cabinets, refrigerator, and freezer while making your shopping list to avoid buying food that you don’t need. Try to abide by the “First in, first out” rule. Oldest items should be stored in front so they are not forgotten.
- Plan ahead
Set a game plan before you go out to buy food to avoid overbuying. Think of the meals you want to make during the week and write down the list of what you need. Having a list will make you less likely to overbuy food that you don’t need.
- Get Creative
Challenge yourself to think outside of the box in the kitchen! Casseroles, soups, smoothies, and “kitchen sink” meals are great ways to use up odds and ends from the kitchen. Use the parts of fruits and vegetables that you normally would throw away.
- Keep the strawberry tops on when you make smoothies
- Blend herb stems with olive oil and spices to make dips and sauces
- Use vegetable peels and meat bones to make your own broth
- Sauté the tops of beets
- Grate broccoli stalks to make veggie fritters
- Befriend the Freezer (and actually use what you put in there!)
Fruits and veggies can be frozen fresh or prepared and then frozen. Meat can be marinated and frozen. Just remember to clearly label all containers and bags with the date!
- Compost and Donate
If you have room, composting is a great way to use food scraps instead of throwing them away. You can also donate safe, untouched foods to food banks to help those in need.
For more information on sustainable eating check out this article from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics or this article from Feeding America!