As grocery bills rise, we can all use the reminder to be less wasteful with our food. This article in the NY Times tells us that we waste a ton of food every day (well, about a pound a day for every American, which is many many tons). Give it a read if you're interested, but the bottom line is that we still waste way more than we should. One fact that I was reminded of was that rotting food that ends up in landfills produces methane, a major source of greenhouse gases. There's really no excuse. Here are a few things we should all try to do to reduce this waste (and our grocery bills!):
1. Stay organized. If you plan your menus and take regular stock of what is in your refrigerator, you won't find yourself with a half-used tub of moldy cottage cheese. (I am ashamed to say that's what I found in my fridge last night.)
2. Pack your lunch. If you have leftovers, pack them for lunch the next day, or use them in the next night's dinner.
3. Compost. We haven't started this yet, but I'm interested in trying to find a way to do this. In the meantime, having a garbage disposal installed is an easy way to reduce the amount of food ending up in the trash.
4. Order Small Plates or Take Leftovers. When you're out at a restaurant, order what you think you'll eat. I know that portions at a lot of restaurants are ridiculously large these days, so in those cases, order an appetizer portion, share with a friend, or bring a container to take your leftovers home.
5. Make Banana Bread. Most farmer's markets and often grocery stores have sale racks for produce, where they put bruised or over-ripe fruits and veggies. This is such a great way to get a deal! You're not going to want to make a salad with them, but most of them are perfectly fine when cooked. Take bruised apples and make applesauce; use brown bananas in a banana bread (it's best that way anyway!); onions, potatoes, peppers, carrots...all fine cooked up a number of ways.
6. Serve What Kids (and You) Will Eat. I absolutely don't mean deprive them of their veggies. I just mean only put a little bit on their plates to avoid it being thrown to the floor if they find it repulsive or if they are simply full. If they like it or they're still hungry, you can always give them more. (Same goes for adults, by the way. You can always go back for seconds.)
There are lots of things we can do to reduce the amount of food that we waste. I definitely have room for improvement on most of these items, so I'll keep trying.