Food Waste Prevention Week

If you toss out food from week to week, from uneaten vegetables to stale bread and forgotten leftovers, you are not alone. The average family of four throws away about $1,500.00 of food each year. On a national scale, a study by the FDA revealed that between 30-40% of the United States food supply may go uneaten. Food waste greatly impacts the environment and food insecurity. To address this chronically overlooked issue in our country, government agencies set an ambitious goal to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030. While the public and private sectors are working towards solutions regarding food waste, change starts at home. With some simple tips, each of us can do our part by acknowledging Food Waste Prevention Week. Every little bit makes a difference.

  • Take inventory: To prevent overbuying, know what is in the refrigerator before hitting the store. Preplanning meals and preparing a shopping list goes a long way towards preventing food waste. Be careful when buying in bulk, especially with items that have a limited shelf life.
  • Reinvent Leftovers: Think of leftover food as an ingredient, and not just the same food reheated. For example, use leftover veggies in this delightful Pasta Salad.
  • Use it up: If you have extra produce, catch it before it goes bad. Create a salad, make soup, or roast away. Or try this recipe for Vegetable Meatloaf. While this recipe calls for broccoli, shredded carrots or zucchini can also be included if available. Be creative!
  • Use your Freezer:  Many foods, like casseroles, fruits and vegetables may be frozen for later use. Be sure to label and date the contents. You don’t want to be surprised with chili when you really wanted pasta sauce!
  • Practice first in/first out: Move older food products to the front of the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry. This will make it more likely to consume foods before they go bad.
  • Organize: Divide your pantry into different “food zones” to easily keep tabs on what items you have on hand.
  • Check your temperatures: For food safety, keep your refrigerator at 40°F or below, and your freezer at 0°F or lower.
  • Use this awesome free FoodKeeper App for information on how to safely store different foods to maintain freshness and quality.
  • Check product dates on foods: Confusion over date labeling accounts for an estimated 20 percent of consumer food waste.
  • Check your garbage can: If the same foods are constantly being tossed, eat them sooner, buy less of them, incorporate them into more recipes or freeze them.
  • Compost: Consider starting a food compost with food scraps.
  • Donate: Food banks are always looking for safe, nutritious foods.

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