Too Much Food!

Chard

The other day I read an article on TreeHugger.com about food waste in the United States.    I don’t remember the exact details, but about 40% of all food in our country is wasted every year.  My first thought was, “No way!  That’s far too much!”  But then I really thought about it.  If you’ve ever worked in foodservice, you know how much waste is scraped into the garbage.  And that doesn’t even take into account the ingredients that are wasted in preparation or thrown out because they’re imperfect.

So what can we do?  Well I have a couple of ideas.  First, I’m not saying stop eating out, but prepare to eat at home more and do it thoughtfully.  What do I mean by this?  Take a few minutes each week to plan your meals.  They don’t have to be big or elaborate, and you can still eat out, but for the meals you’re anticipating eating at home, have a plan.  Once you have your menus set, do some inventory in the kitchen and pantry and make a list to shop.  At the store, stick to your list and skip the extras.

Next, if you find yourself with leftovers, use them up!  Take them for lunch the next day, supplement them with a salad for your dinner, or freeze them.  In our house we have a bag-sealing machine that is a life saver.  If we have a lot of extra food, we make it into meal-size pouches for those times when you need to grab something quick out of the freezer to microwave.  They’re just as convenient as store-bought frozen meals and definitely taste better.

I had a goal to eat more vegetables this year, which sometimes leaves us with fresh stuff we need to use up.  It can be done with a small amount of creativity.  I surfed around and found some different recipes for vegetable cutlets.  This sounded awesome to me, as a flexitarian, and I figured it would be a good side dish for the carnivores in the house.  I was able to use up a bunch of peas, corn, onion, potatoes, and carrots.  And if there would have been excess cutlets, they would freeze great.  Not that there were enough left for that!

Lastly, if you are in the food and beverage industry, look at what you’re serving.  Use ample portions, but not too much.  If you have extra food, look into donating it to a food shelf or community kitchen that can use it up.  If you still have food waste to dispose of, find out if your community has a food disposal program.  Keeping this waste out of our landfills will greatly reduce excess gases from being released into the environment.  And that good news is definitely easy to swallow!

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One response to this post.

  1. Excellent ideas on not wasting food! But more steps can be taken on reducing food waste:

    http://redbarcelona.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/food-waste-how-wasteful-is-it-does-it-matter/

    Reply

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