Living a more sustainable lifestyle requires everyone to decrease their food waste. According to ReFED, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the nation’s food waste, every year America’s households waste 27 million tons of food. Most of it ends up in landfills and contributes to the production of greenhouse gases. Uneaten food is also a waste of water, energy, and other resources people use to produce it. So to become part of the solution, here a few ways you can reduce your food waste.
1. Use All Those Leftovers
You could give yourself an evening off from cooking by eating your leftovers for dinner the next day. Taking leftovers to work for lunch has the added benefit of saving a little money. If you don’t like eating the exact same meal a few days in a row, try transforming your leftovers into a new meal. Here are some ideas:
- Make an Easy Soup: Simmer leftovers in at least two cups of broth until heated through. You may want to add herbs or sauteed onions to enhance the flavor.
- Cook Tastier Eggs: Leftover vegetables, ham, sausage, or bacon are a delicious mix-in for omelets, quiches, or scrambled eggs.
- Create a Casserole: Mix leftover vegetables, a protein, if desired, and a starch with a sauce or gravy. Put the mixture in an oven-safe pan. Cover and heat at 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes. The liquid should be bubbling. Uncover and top with cheese or breadcrumbs. Return to the oven for about 10 minutes.
2. Make Plans for Using Your Excess Produce
Most households run into the problem of too much produce from time to time. Gardeners tend to have this problem at the end of every growing season. Also, shoppers often tend to buy too many fruits and veggies. Here’s how to use excess produce:
- Freeze or Can Your Produce: You can use frozen fruit later in smoothies, desserts, muffins, and more.
- Barter: You may be able to trade your garden surplus with a neighbor.
- Cook It Now. You may never go back to store-bought fruit spreads once you make your own by simmering a little lemon juice, sugar, and berries together. Unspoiled produce that no longer looks its best can be hidden in quick breads, soups, stews or sauces.
Hopefully, these ideas have inspired you to think of ways your household can do its part to reduce food waste. You’ll eat healthier and save some money, too. Best of all, it’s easy and can even be fun to find ways to use produce instead of tossing it.