The amount of food wasted each year seems to continue to trend upwards. It may not seem like a big deal, but the little efforts you can make at home matter.
In my latest book, I delve into the subject, discussing everything from sustainable agriculture to how to use stale bread. When I wrote the book, it was estimated that the average US household wastes up to $1500 a year of food thrown away. The value of that food is likely closer to $2000 now, with the inflated food prices you see at the grocery store. According to the USDA and other food waste experts, the best approach to reducing food loss and waste is not to create it in the first place.
The Basic Zero Waste Cooking Plan
- Buy only what you need. That may seem painfully simple, but buying too much food is a top reason for food waste. Look out for those impulse buys, and reconsider the true value of “buy one, get one”.
- Become more observant of your habits. What do you know you typically waste every week? How can you change? Do a biweekly check of your fridge, and use it up, or freeze it.
- Store it right. Using your refrigerator and freezer properly helps preserve the safety and quality of food.
- Understand Best-By dates. These dates are an indication of when to eat a food for the best quality. They don’t “expire” after this date, but the flavor may be compromised.
- Eat your leftovers! Look at leftovers in a different way. Instead of just heating and eating, think about what else you can create from the cooked foods in your fridge. Make nachos, a pizza, a rice power bowl, or scramble with eggs. Try these appetizers with leftover cranberry sauce or other bits.
To learn more, listen in to my guest appearances on these podcast episodes:
Ellie Krieger’s One Real Good Thing. Cook Once, Eat Thrice
The Nutrition Diva: Zero Waste Cooking with Rosanne Rust
Spot on! with Joan Salge Blake: One Person’s Trash Is Another Person’s Dinner
True Health Revealed with Kathleen Zelman.