According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in 2011 alone, more than 36 million tons of food waste was generated, with only four percent diverted from landfills and incinerators for composting.* We can all do our part to make sure we make the most of the precious food resources Mother Nature had given us. Plus, making the most of our food purchases can also help us stretch our dollars at the grocery store!
Need practical ideas that will help to reduce the amount of food waste we produce?
1. Compost it. Leftover food scraps like fruit peels, egg shells and overripe fruits and vegetables are perfect to help create nutrient-rich natural compost for your garden or flower beds. You can find compost bins (the kind that won’t stink up your yard) and starter kits on Amazon or at your local hardware store.
2. Menu plan. Take some time each week to sit down and make out a grocery list that allows you to plan around the items that you already have in your fridge, freezer and pantry. Also, think about what recipes might complement each other, so that you can re-use leftover ingredients. For example, when you use part of a can of pumpkin puree to make pumpkin bread, you can use the leftover puree in another recipe, such as pumpkin soup or even dog treats.
3. Freeze it. Your freezer preserves food before it spoils, eliminating food waste. Leftovers, sauces, herbs and spices, fruit, vegetables, meats, and even dairy products such as cheese, cream cheese, and milk can be frozen for three to six months before spoiling.
4. Dehydrate it. Dehydrators aren’t just for camping anymore! You can use them to make amazing dried fruits and vegetables to be noshed on as-is or rehydrated later. Dehydrators are also great for raw-food diets and even can be used to make raw crackers, breads and cookies.
5. Know your substitutes. Sometimes we waste food because we don’t understand that we can use what we already have in a recipe. No agave syrup? Try honey instead. No sour cream? Much of the time, you can substitute plain yogurt. You can also substitute applesauce for oil and chia seeds for eggs in baking recipes. Just do a little research online to understand the right quantities for your swap-outs.
For more delicious and nutritious recipes from SkinnyMs., check out our SkinnyMs. Recipe Collection of 101 Fan Favorites.
Do you have any tips for preventing food waste? We’d love to hear them. Please leave us a comment in the section below.