Happy Earth Day! Did you know that you can make a positive impact on the environment by limiting your food waste? It’s true! The USDA estimates that 30-40% of the food supply in the United States is wasted! Here are 10 creative ways to reduce the food waste created in your kitchen at home.
Make a smoothie/juice.
When I have some leftover fruits and vegetables that are past their prime in the fridge, I will often toss them in the blender as a smoothie or fresh juice. Here are some of my favorite juice and smoothie recipes I’ve posting in the past: Ginger Zinger Green Juice // Mango Cilantro Green Smoothie
Shop the bulk bins.
When purchasing ingredients for a recipe, buy just what you need from the bulk bins in the store so that you don’t end up with leftover. I love the bulk bins and shop them all the time! This is a great tip to use when you are making a recipe with new-to-you ingredients or expensive ingredients so you don’t have to invest in a large amount of the ingredient.
Vegetables that are a little wilted are still great in soup! We try to keep our pantry stocked with canned diced tomatoes and vegetable broth so that it is easy to make a soup whenever we have veggies that need to be cooked up ASAP.
Make a list before shopping.
Take inventory of your fridge and pantry and make a list before heading to the store. You don’t want to be buying foods that you already have plenty of at home. Making a list also helps me avoid buying unnecessary items while shopping as well.
Buy “ugly” fruits and vegetables.
A lot of produce is wasted because of small blemishes or the fact that it doesn’t look “perfect”. Embrace ugly fruits and vegetables! They are just as edible as the pretty ones.
Stock up your freezer.
Have too many leftovers? Store them in the freezer to help them last longer. I will also freeze extra fruit or vegetables if I can’t use them before they go bad. Check out this handy guide for freezing your produce and leftovers. –> Guide to Frozen Foods.
Pack your lunch.
Pack leftovers for your lunch so they don’t go to waste! I do this all the time since it takes a lot of the work out of packing my lunch for the next day.
Learn to can fruit to make jam or pickle your vegetables. We love pickling different veggies, especially in the summer when we tend to buy too much at the farmers market! Here’s an older blog recipe for super simple homemade refrigerator pickles.
Practice “first in, first out”.
Every time you bring groceries home from the store, try and store the newer stuff behind your older items. If the older items are at the front, you are more likely to see them and use them up before you grab for the new items.
Take home restaurant leftovers.
Many restaurants serve much bigger portions than you could possibly eat in one sitting. Don’t leave your unfinished dish! Ask for a box and take it home with you to enjoy the next day. Will and I will often split our meals when eating out so that we can finish the meal and prevent wasting any food that way!