Kitchen Tips to Cut Back on Food Waste
It is estimated that up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is wasted.While this can occur anywhere along the food supply chain, consumers are the largest contributors to food waste, throwing away an estimated 15 to 25 percent of all food purchased. It is easy to see the financial impact of throwing food in the garbage, but the problem goes far beyond your wallet. Food waste has economic, environmental and social implications.
The majority of food waste ends up in landfills. As the food breaks down it produces methane, a greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change. Additionally, natural resources, such as land, water and energy, used to produce unused food also are wasted. Considering the estimated global population growth over the next 30 years, maximizing the use of these valuable resources is crucial.
So, how can you decrease food waste in your home?
Think of leftovers as an ingredient for future meals
Consider how extra ingredients from one meal could be used for a second meal later in the week.
- Shred extra meat and add barbeque sauce, cheese and serve on a bun for a tasty sandwich
- Blend extra fruit with milk and yogurt to make a smoothie or other frozen treats
- Add vegetables to casseroles, pasta dishes or soup
- Use leftover vegetables in egg dishes and top with your favorite shredded cheese
Make Once, Use Twice
There are several things you can do ahead of time to save time later in the week. Here are a few kitchen tips:
- Prepare common ingredients in extra quantities for future meals
- Portion leftovers and freeze for a quick future meal; soups, stews, casseroles and lasagna all freeze well
- For large recipes, freeze extra unbaked servings in a separate container to thaw and cook later
While there are many things we can do to reduce food waste, it cannot be completely eliminated. Using food waste, such as scraps, excess food and peels, for composting can help create nutrient-rich soil and reduce the environmental impact from food in landfills. You can also take compost materials to a local composter, if available. Find out if there is a composter in your community by visiting findacomposter.com.
Learn more from Midwest Dairy.