Going Green

Save Money and the Planet by Reducing Food Waste

Organize produce in your fridge in the order your purchased it. This helps ensure items don't get forgotten in the back.
January 2018
Posted

Nearly 50 percent of produce in the US is thrown away before it reaches your plate, according to USDA estimates. This waste not only affects the environment, it impacts shoppers’ wallets, as well. The average family of four discards $1,600 of food each year, according to a study published by the International Journal on Food System Dynamics.

How can you stop wasting and start saving? Follow these tips to ensure the produce you buy is used to its full potential.

• Plan Purchases

Plan meals to create an ingredient shopping list comprised of everything you need for the week. Don’t stray at the store. Select items that can be used in multiple dishes. Also, be sure to consider your dining out habits; if you typically grab a few meals away from home, consider picking up a mix of fresh and frozen items to leave some wiggle room in your seven-day plan.

• Organize Produce

When it comes to using fresh items, your policy should be first in, first out. Organize produce in the order you purchased it. Keep items that need to be consumed first within eyesight and put the freshest goods in the back, moving food forward as you go. This will help ensure items don’t get forgotten in the back.

• Re-use and Re-purpose

Today’s tomato slices can be tomorrow’s tomato soup. Simply place leftover tomatoes and a few other ingredients into the container of a high-powered blender. Or, if you have potato, carrot or zucchini skins available, store them in a freezer bag to easily make homemade vegetable broth later. Add the veggies to boiling water and let it simmer on the stove. Drain, season and incorporate the versatile broth into recipes like risotto, curry and vegetable soup.

Making guacamole or avocado toast? Leftover avocado browns quickly, so it’s good to have a plan for how to use it immediately. Why not whip up a creamy green smoothie bowl? Or, if you’re not hungry, make a natural facial mask to tighten pores and firm skin.

Use leftover chicken to add some protein to a salad or stir-fry, or finely chop and crisp leftover beef to give texture and extra flavor to pasta and soup.

• Come Full Circle

Even after taking steps to reduce food waste, you’ll still likely have a few items that need to be discarded. Create a compost pile where you can toss old food scraps to give them new life as fertilizer for your garden.

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