Did you know food waste is a major contributor to climate change? An average American consumer wastes about one pound of food per day according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. A family of four loses about $1,500 a year on wasted food. The EPA states that food is the largest component of our daily trash going to landfills. The wasted food then sits and releases potent methane gas contributing to climate change. Want to do something to help our planet and save money? Here are 6 tips to help reduce your food waste.
1. Meal Plan
Take some time every week to plan out what you are going to have for meals. This way you buy exactly what you need. If this seems like an overwhelming task, start by just planning 1 or 2 dinners per week. Continue to add a meal as you feel more comfortable and it becomes more routine.
2. Serve Small Portion Sizes to Children
Remember that children’s stomachs are only the size of their fist so consider this when serving them a meal. If you are exposing your children to a new food, start with just one bite on the plate. They can always go back for seconds. It can be less overwhelming for them, and a lot less food is wasted.
3. Store Leftovers in Clear Glass Containers or Mason Jars
Put your leftovers in clear containers to make it easy to see what you have and take inventory. I try to keep all my leftovers on one shelf so I know exactly what I have.
4. Weekly Clean Out and Reorganization of the Fridge
This is a great way to keep the fridge clean and organized. It is less likely for food to get lost and forgotten, only later to be found rotting in the far back corner of the fridge. Take inventory of what you have before you go shopping.
5. Weekly Leftover Night
Create one meal each week with leftovers or food that needs to be used up before it goes bad. Otherwise known in our house as, “Mish Mosh.” I usually end up taking everything out of the fridge in glass containers and just reheating it in the oven. I put all the separate containers on the island and everyone builds their own plate. It is fun to see how each plate is different and made to their own liking. We then like to play a game to see what each plate has in common and what is different about each plate. We ask questions like, “Who has broccoli on their plate?” “Who doesn’t have pasta on their plate?” ” Who has chicken but doesn’t have rice?”
6. Freeze Leftovers
If you know you aren’t going to have time to eat the leftovers or your family is sick of eating soup for the 3rd night in a row, freeze it. It will be perfect and much more appreciated a month later after a busy day. Using frozen leftovers can make meals so much easier!
Food waste is inevitable. Consider composting to keep rotting food out of the landfill. If you don’t have the space or the desire to compost, check out Mr. Fox, a local seacoast company that will pick up your food waste and turn it into rich compost for you.
What else can you do to reduce food waste? I’d love to add more tips to this list. Please share these 6 tips with others!