We all have a responsibility to be more mindful of how our food waste impacts our environment. Let’s take the guess work out of it with these few easy steps.
BY: MEME INGE, MS, RDN
Food waste is not cool: it’s not beneficial for the environment or your budget.
Even if composting isn’t your thing, it’s still possible to improve your carbon footprint. Instead of continually contributing to the alarming amount of food waste that happens every year, here are a few tips to reduce the food waste in your house without drastically changing how you live.
1. Know what you have
Make a list of everything in your kitchen. What’s in your pantry, refrigerator and freezer? Keep an inventory on a list to stay informed and prevent you from buying something you already have. It can also help make sure you buy the right things you need when you go to the store if you’re meal planning.
2. Shop with a realistic attitude
Be sure to buy what you need, and be honest about what you’ll actually use. How often will you be eating at home this week? How much will you need to make that happen?
It’s always a good idea to stock up on non-perishables for your pantry or items that take at least a few weeks to go bad, so you have food to pull out and cook when you need it. Don’t buy large quantities of produce, meat or other items you know will go bad before you can use them all. Only buy those in bulk if you absolutely know you will be using them before they go bad.
3. Clean out the fridge weekly
Designate a day or two every week to clean out the kitchen. Use up your leftovers in creative ways, so you don’t get bored of the same meal. Fried rice, stir fry, casseroles, and omelets are a great way to throw together different ingredients into a whole new dish.
4. Embrace the waste
If it’s time to trash it, don’t hesitate to donate or toss it. If something has gone bad or is past its expiration date, toss it. Otherwise, consider what can you do with food that may not look that pretty anymore but are usable.
Save scraps from your veggies, and freeze them until you have enough to make a batch of veggie broth. Or do the same and save them for the next time you have leftover chicken bones so you can make chicken broth.
5. Have a backup plan
Not every week will go as planned, so have a backup plan for what you can to do with food that you didn’t get to use during the week. You can freeze it, prepare it as a dish and freeze, make soup or a casserole and freeze, pickle your veggies, or can it.
If you have leftover fruit or veggies, you can blend and pour into ice cubes to use in smoothies later. If the veggie is hard, like a carrot, be sure to steam it before blending.
Congrats, you’ve just made the world a better place!
Adapted from the original article.
HEADER IMAGE: PAUL HANAOKA
Meme Inge, MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in San Diego. She shares approachable, nourishing recipes to prove that living a healthy lifestyle can be budget-friendly, delicious and fun. Get to know more about Meme at Living Well Kitchen.