Avoid Wasting Food and Save One Hundred Dollars a Month!

We can compost. We can make a freezer inventory. We can force everyone in the family to become members of the “clean plate club.” (This should go over well with a six-month-old.) I read somewhere that 25% of the food we buy ends up getting tossed. If the average three-person family (two adults and a toddler) spends just over $400 on the U.S.D.A.’s “thrifty plan,” that means they’re tossing one hundred dollars’ worth of food away each month!

So how else can we avoid wasting food? Here are some ideas:

Use portion control. If you make your own baby food, freeze it in small portions and dole it out slowly.

Be creative and try to avoid throwing out partially-eaten food. In the Tightwad Gazette Journal, Amy Dacyczyn makes a miniature apple crisp for her child out of an apple he took just a bite or two out of. Save the half-eaten fruits your baby leaves behind in the freezer and blend into smoothies when you have enough.

Make lists of perishable items so you don’t leave produce languishing in the fridge.

Eat strategically. If you have a fridge full of lettuce, broccoli, potatoes, carrots, and beets, what do you need to eat tonight? Lettuce doesn’t last nearly as long as carrots—so have a salad!

Use the freezer. I used to waste food when I’d stick leftovers in the fridge with no plan of eating them within the next couple days. Stick food in the freezer instead—but don’t forget about it there! You can freeze more than you might think, including eggs, milk, and rice.

Be less squeamish. Most people around the world rely much less on refrigeration than we do in the U.S. and live to tell about it. If you reheat leftovers to the point that they’re steaming, you’ll most likely succeed in killing anything dangerous.  If you are truly paranoid about food poisoning, just be diligent about portion control and freezing to avoid throwing out “spoiled” food.

I’ve got to say that food waste is one of my pet issues; I can’t believe I haven’t written more on the subject here on the Green Baby Guide! I can’t believe I don’t have an entire blog devoted to the subject like this guy does! I can’t believe I didn’t come up with this Food Waste Reduction Challenge like Crunchy Chicken did! When I think of all the energy that goes into producing, packaging, and transporting  food—only to have it tossed it in the trash, where it emits dangerous greenhouse gasses as it rots in a landfill, I become consumed by guilt. But then I think of more ways to avoid waste, and I feel better. Phew.

How do you prevent food waste? Let us know!

Thinking of ways to prevent food waste works for me! For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We Are THAT Family.

Comments

  1. Great, great tips, I hate food waste too. Thanks for this. I’m going to start following your blog!

  2. Good post, Very interesting!

  3. I too am on a campaign to reduce food waste. My new method is to simply buy less food at a time. Now I will only buy food if I have a specific meal I plan to make with it and time set aside to prepare it. Then I freeze the food that I don’t end up preparing if it’s in my refrigerator for more than a few days. (I didn’t know you could freeze eggs – do you do it whole?) This may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s something I’ve been bad about. I may end up taking more trips to the store, but I’ll hopefully end up throwing away less!

  4. Such great reminders! Thanks for all the wonderful tips!

  5. I’m guilty! But I’m going to work at doing better. I like the idea of freezing things instead of sticking them in the fridge.

  6. fantastic post, i really do have a tendency to waste food so this is always a good thing.

  7. I do sometimes wish I could buy smaller portions at the store to start with–for instance, I like asparagus but if I buy a bunch it means eating it three days in a row.

    My tip for apples and toddlers: cut the apple in slices. If I give my son a whole apple, he will eat the outside of it until the skin is gone and then leave the rest. But if I slice it, he’s more likely to eat the whole thing, and if he doesn’t, I can refrigerate the leftover slices and they look a lot more appetizing than a half-eaten whole apple. (Of course, you could also grate the leftover apple the next morning and throw it in some pancake batter.)

  8. Great tips! This is one of my pet peeves too, lol.

    Cheapdiapermom

  9. I’d also add that you should plan your meals – not just your menus but your work lunches as well. Instead of being part of the “clean plate club” or having a ton of small leftovers, you can always portion out tomorrow’s lunch early.

  10. my brother in law does compost and omg it looks horrible and smells just as bad. i don’t know how he does it, honestly.

  11. As for apples and other fruits getting wasted: If they are only half eaten, toss a little lemon juice or pineapple juice on the remaining slices and it keeps perfectly for a couple of days! No brown apple slices.

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