5 Ways to Cut Down on Food Waste
I watched “The Big Waste” on Food Network on Sunday night, and it prompted some thinky thoughts about some ways we can cut down on wasted food at home. I hate wasting food. I hate wasting food AND money. I’m going to interrupt your regularly scheduled grocery geeking to get some of them out. On the special, Anne Burrell, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Symon and Bobby Flay are asked to make a gourmet meal for 100 people out of food that goes in the trash. Millions and millions of pounds of food goes to waste in this country EVERY day. Around 200 pounds for each and every American. When children and the elderly and people who work go hungry. This is a disgrace. And a big problem. What can you do? There are five ways you can start in your own house to cut down on food waste.
Have a planned leftover night.
At least once a week is leftover night at the Coupon Kristin house. If I see more than one or two things in the fridge, I start getting a little antsy. I know some people don’t care for leftovers, but there’s always a new way to package up something instead of throwing it out.
Inventory your shelves.
How many times have you gone to the store to buy something, only to find it again when you get home? Yeah, I’ve never done that. Only about every other time I go to the store. If you’re not careful, that inattention can really cost your budget and contribute to waste. Know what you have before you go.
Right now, there’s a huge pot of stock on my stove. I had some veggies left over from our New Year’s celebration that were a little old for eating, but will add lots of flavor to the stock. They were perfectly fine for something that’s going to get boiled to death. I also found some mark down veggies at the store. Not perfect, but cheap and will be very flavorful. As you’re prepping your veggies for the week, take the scraps and put them in a baggie for soup or stock. (Exclude potato peels, broccoli, etc because they’ll mess the stock up.)
Donate food before it goes bad.
Have you ever gotten a great deal on something and then your family doesn’t finish it? Find a great deal on something you might not care for? Just buy too much? Here’s what happened to me: I found a lot of bologna on mark down for an insane price. We don’t eat bologna. I bought two packages, a loaf of cheap white bread and made sandwiches. There were a lot of happy people on the corners. No, it’s not exactly gourmet food, but it fills bellies. We’ve also bought food for free or really cheap and not liked it for one reason or another. There is always someone who is worse off than you are. Don’t throw food out. Pass it along.
Know the difference between expiration and sell-by dates.
An Expiration Date is the last day a product should be eaten. A Sell-By date is the last day that the product is guaranteed to be at its peak. You can see more information here on that, from the USDA. Did you know that eggs are good for up to 5 weeks after the date on the package? The only thing that absolutely expires is infant formula. Amazing. We’ve used mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce well after their sell-by dates. These items in particular have a high acid content and they were perfectly fine.
How much waste can you cut down, just by rethinking 5 things?
Linking up at Milehimama’s Hack the Budget linky!