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Avoiding Food Waste

11.04.10 Avoiding Food Waste

This week on the New York Times Well blog, Tara Parker Hope wrote about how much food Americans waste. It got me thinking about how much money, energy, and landfill space is wasted when food is thrown away.

You know how it is-- eating with children unfortunately increases waste, massively. Their tastes change like the wind, and you never know when they will devour copious amounts of food (read: Mac and Cheese) or not (anything new). But this is a problem, especially in America, where it is estimated that 1/4 to 1/2 of all food produced in the USA is discarded. That is obsene!

And certainly not cheap. According to Tara, "Why should we care about food waste? For starters, it’s expensive. Citing various studies, including one at the University of Arizona called the Garbage Project that tracked home food waste for three decades, Mr. Bloom estimates that as much as 25 percent of the food we bring into our homes is wasted. So a family of four that spends $175 a week on groceries squanders more than $40 worth of food each week and $2,275 a year."

This would be a good place to work on saving money. Here are some ideas for how to lessen food waste. I know you readers will have many more, so please add them to the comments.

*Plan meals around fresh food. When you have purchased something that will spoil, plan to eat it up quickly, and save pantry supplies for when you run out of fresh foods.

*Store leftovers in class glass containers, and keep them in the front of the fridge. This way, you can see your leftovers easily and will (hopefully) remember to chow them down.

*Plan a few meals in a row featuring recently purchased fresh foods. Have some fresh spinach? Plan spinach quesadillas one night, spinach pesto pasta the next.

*Use smaller amounts of leftovers for kid meals and snacks. Kids love plates full of small portions of a variety of foods.

*Clean out your refrigerator often so you can actually see what is in it (this is much easier said then done-- I'm glad you aren't peering into my fridge right now!).

*Compost what spoils, or your family can't eat. At least then the food won't end up in the landfill, but back into soil to use in your garden.

There are some other great tips in this post From Farm to Fridge to Garbage Can. What are your tips for preventing food waste?


image:  by fauxto_digit on Flickr under Creative Commons

Posted in: Food Waste
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