Fighting the Four BIG Causes of Food Waste

Filed under: Food Stories |

Americans are trashing one-third of their food, worth $161 billion dollars. OurFoodNews scoured the internet to find the best and freshest tactics for managing home food waste.

The LeanPath blog  challenges us to start at the beginning by answering the following questions:

What are the main reasons most of us throw food away?
1. Kids don’t want to eat what we’ve cooked for them.
2. We’ve cooked too much.
3. We haven’t used our food fast enough.
4. We haven’t eaten food by its use date because plans changed, we forgot the food was “in there,” we don’t know how to use leftovers.

So let’s tackle these food waste tendencies one by one to identify the superior fight-back tactics.

1. Here are some pointers to encourage our households to eat everything we serve.

  • Keep a running list of meals your household likes and serve these favorites often.
  • Make your shopping list, stick to it, and be realistic about what/how much your household can eat in a given time.
  • Prepare and freeze favorite meals in advance.

2. Counter the “cooked too much” syndrome by planning ahead:

  • Try a two-week planning regimen.
  • Use a meal planner like MealMixer or e-meals.
  • Use mobile apps and web-based tools to plan ingredients for favorite meals.
  • Before you shop, look in cupboards and refrigerator to verify that you need the foods on your list.
  • If you haven’t eaten everything at one meal, freeze leftovers right away.

FreshVEggies3. Use up the food you purchase by following these smart purchase and storage rules:

  • To avoid over-buying, put only the quantities you need on your list.
  • Buy fresh items in small quantity.
  • Purchase small amounts of loose fruits and vegetables, not prepackaged containers which may spoil before you can eat all the contents.
  • Learn which fruits and veggies last longest. This guide can help: StorageGuideColor
  • Think outside the box about freezing foods (for example, bread and sliced fruit).
  • Store food properly.
  • Don’t remove food packaging until you’re ready to eat.
  • Once opened, food like cheese and ham keep better well wrapped.
  • Keep bread in a cool dark place, not the fridge.
  • Check out food storage helpers like BerryBreeeze designed to filter and clear the air in your fridge.
  • Understand the optimal way to handle and store difficult foods like greens and other quick spoil food products.

TraderJoes4. Recommit to using all the food you have.

  • Educate yourself about food expiration dates; things may last longer than you think.
  • Turn expired food into cheap meals
  • Use vegetables past their prime and other small leftover in stir fry.
  • Cook or eat what you already have before buying more.
  • Don’t buy in bulk if you aren’t sure you can use all of it.
  • Find unusual/creative uses for the foods you have leftover (stale bread for croutons, beet tops for a side dish, etc.)
  • Look for expert help on using leftovers from spots like The Leftover Chef. 

5. In addition to fighting the above food waste no-nos, here are two more possibilities.

 

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Sources

Strategies and Tools linked to food waste reduction
Think*Eat*Save
This Year’s 12 Greatest Strides Toward Reducing Food Waste by Dana Gunder
USDA/EPA
Food Waste Focus
Strategies and Tools linked to food waste reduction
England, Love Food Hate Waste
NPR
World Watch
National Center for Home Food Preservation
Leftover Chef

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