Disclosure: This is a post written by me and any opinions expressed are my own. I may or may not have received compensation for my services.
“But MOOOOMMMM I’m full!” How many times a week do you hear this from your children? If you break out the ice cream, suddenly they have a lot of free space in their tummies. Funny how things work like that, isn’t it? When I put out meals, I portion their plates to what I know they can eat, minus a little bit. I can not stand wasted food and watching people eat at a buffet pokes at my OCD. The boys used to be bad about this. While we rarely eat out anymore, they will eat what they take. I am always looking for ways to waste less food.
In 2013, the United States wasted 31% or 133 billion pounds of food. The estimated value of this food was a shocking was roughly $165 billion. The United States also spends about 1 BILLION dollars a year disposing of wasted food. A Billion dollars? That is just absurd. With the help of the wonderful world wide web and personal experience, I have come up with a list of ways to help reduce the amount of food being wasted in our homes.
The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is dedicated to advancing the science of food since 1939. Their non-profit scientific society—with more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—bring together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry. This spring, they launched FutureFood 2050, a multi-year program highlighting the people and stories leading the efforts for a healthier, safer and better nourished planet that’s needed to feed 9 billion+ people by 2050. They continue to roll out interviews with the world’s most impactful leaders in food and science, and next year watch for FutureFood 2050, the documentary film.
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1. I think the most important tip to reduce food waste is, make a grocery list and stick to the list. I have been guilty of this in the past. We often find ourselves buying items, we don’t really need, on a whim. Since I have moved, and the closet grocery store is 12 miles away, I have become an ace at shopping lists. Lists reduce impulse shopping.
2. Do you own one of those K-Cup machines? Did you know you are paying, on average, $50 a pound for your coffee? Did I also mention the amount of extra trash being created when you toss out those little cups? I am not a coffee drinker but I wouldn’t pay that much for any coffee.
3. If you find yourself wasting a lot of milk, buy organic. Yes, it costs a little more up front but, since it is processed differently, it lasts a lot longer. Regular processed milk lasts about a week. The last gallon of organic milk I purchased was dated almost a month.
4. Never mix your fruits and vegetables in the same drawer of your fridge. One makes the other spoil.
5. A long time ago my Dad told me that if you pull your bananas apart, they last twice as long. I have been doing this for years. The average banana last about 5 to 7 days. If you pull them apart, they last 14-17 days! If they become over ripe, make Banana Nut Bread. It’s quick and delicious.
6. Make your fresh herbs last longer by freezing them. Simply fill ice cube trays up with your herb and add olive oil or butter. Freeze and use when you need them.
7. Turn your stale bread into croutons or bread crumbs. Here is my recipe for Italian Bread Crumbs.
8. Freeze your left over wine in ice cube trays for later use when cooking. I know, what is left over wine?
9. There will always be a time when you can’t finish everything on your plate. As long as it is a safe food, pass it on to your four legged friends, who can finish it.
10. When eating out, always take a doggie bag! I can’t tell you the amount of food I see being wasted at restaurants. Considering you are over paying to begin with, why throw the food and your money away?
11. Have you ever found a smoking hot sale and stocked up, then decided a month later that you were never going to use it all? Donate it to your local food bank or church. It will be used.
What tips can you share to help waste less food in the country and in your home?