Smart Ways to Reduce Your Home Food Waste

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Sometimes it seems like we throw out more food than we eat. While that probably isn’t true, the average household does waste a lot of food. Here are some ideas for cutting down your home food waste.

Compost

While you are still discarding the leftover food when you compost, you are recycling it into a useful substance that can be used to grow more food (or anything else you like) in the garden. Only compost food that has no other use and can’t be recycled in the kitchen anymore.

Smaller Portions

It’s interesting to note that studies have shown that the size of the plate makes a difference in how much we eat. Smaller plates mean smaller portions, and while going back for seconds is not taboo, it still holds true that smaller plates result in less food being consumed at a meal. So break out the “salad plates” and other smaller dishes, and cook and serve up smaller portions.

Larger Portions

Yes, this is the opposite of smaller portions, but increasing the amount of food you cook in one session in the kitchen can actually help reduce waste. If you double a recipe, for example, you spend the same amount of time and energy in the kitchen as you would for the regular recipe, but you have twice the food. You can then freeze the other half and have a future meal ready in less time (and wasting less energy on oven use).

Plan Meals and Make a Shopping List

Each week, plan out your meals and shop accordingly. That doesn’t mean you have to pass up spontaneous bargains that you find (you can always freeze those!), but it does mean that you have a general plan of what you are going to be eating that week and the required ingredients. This helps reduce waste because you are not buying impulsively, filling your fridge and pantry with food items you may never use.

Creative Use of Leftovers

There are so many great uses for leftovers – get creative! Here are some suggestions:

* Refrigerated mashed potatoes can be used in breads, to make potato pancakes, or to top a Shepherd’s Pie.
* Aging celery, carrots and/or onions (and even apples) can be used to make vegetable stock.
* Leftover fruit salad, canned or fresh, be pureed and drunk as a fruit smoothie or frozen into popsicles.
* Make breadcrumbs from stale bread and freeze them.
* Citrus peals can be simmered in sugar syrup and candied.
* Leftover steamed vegetables can be mixed with rice or noodles, topped with cheese, and baked as a casserole.

Good Containers

Invest in a good set of glass storage containers with tight-fitting lids. These will preserve your food better than haphazard containers covered with plastic wrap. Be sure to label all containers with the content and date.

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