Share Pin Email
feature image
Live Fresh

5 Ways to Stop Wasting So Much Food

You’re probably throwing away 36 pounds of food a month. Here’s how to cut down on waste and save money.

1 273
Author Image
Contributing Writer
SHARE:

The Rose Bowl is a massive, 90,000-seat stadium in Pasadena, California. Its rim circumference is 2,430 feet—about half a mile around. Typically, the Rose Bowl is filled with rabid, cheering football fans. “Now picture it filled to the brim with all kinds of food,” suggests Jonathan Bloom, author of the book American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It). “That’s the reality of how much food America wastes every single day: about 40 percent of our food supply. And that squandering happens at every stage of the food chain, from farm to fork.”

Nobody likes forgetting about berries in the fridge only to find a moldy mess five days later. And who doesn’t feel a twinge of guilt when throwing out a box of food that’s past its “Enjoy by” date? Yet the average American still tosses an average of 36 pounds of food a month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Thankfully, some pioneers are working to reduce food waste and help people rethink what they’re throwing away. For example, Daily Table, a not-for-profit retail store in Dorchester, Massachusetts, founded by the former president of Trader Joe’s, opened in June to recover food from supermarkets, farmers, and food distributors that would otherwise have been wasted. Typically, food gets tossed because it’s at or approaching its “Use by” or “Best by” dates. But the truth is, it’s still safe to eat, which is why Daily Table extends its shelf life and sells it at a reduced price.

Rolling Harvest Food Rescue is another nonprofit that is making a difference in food waste. It collects donated produce from local markets and farms and distributes it to non-profit hunger-relief agencies throughout select areas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Across the border in Canada, select Safeway and Sobeys have partnered with the RedHat Co-operative to sell “misfit” produce—think bumpy tomatoes, crooked cucumbers, and other “ugly” produce that’s still just as nutritious as their perfect-looking counterparts—at drastically discounted prices. The idea was sparked by France’s “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” campaign, which sagely points out that “A grotesque apple a day keeps the doctor away, too.”

With a few simple tweaks and a little bit of concerted planning, you can cut back on your own food waste, which will help decrease the 37 million tons of discarded food the Environmental Protection Agency says goes to landfills every year. Added bonus: You’ll save money too. About $455 annually gets scrapped with unusable leftovers. Here are a few ways to get started:

1. Learn what “Sell by” really means.

“Many products may have a “Sell by” date, but they could be good in your pantry for another 12 or 18 months,” according to Chris Bernstein, a spokesperson for the USDA. The dates you see stamped on products are usually just recommendations for enjoying food at its optimal quality and not an indication of food safety. With the exception of infant formula, product dating isn’t even federally required. For instance, as the Food Marketing Institute explains, “Use by” is the last date recommended for the use of the product while at optimal quality. That doesn’t mean the food goes bad once the date passes; it just means it might taste 98 or 99 percent as good instead of 100 percent. “But in most cases, it’s going to taste perfectly fine,” notes Rolling Harvest founder and executive director Cathy Snyder. “Plus it will still have its full nutritional benefits.” Try downloading the USDA/EPA’s FoodKeeper app to get notifications when, say, your oatmeal is nearing the end of its recommended storage date.

Eggs will usually last 3 to 5 weeks after purchase even if the “Sell by” date has passed. Want to know for sure? Place the egg in a bowl with cold water. If it sinks, you’re good to go. If it floats, throw it out. Eggs are porous, so as they age, the inner liquid evaporates and is replaced with outside air, which makes the eggs buoyant.

2. Work on your refrigerator Tetris game.

When it comes to storing leftovers, container size matters. That’s why Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D., a dietitian based in Washington D.C. recommends imagining your fridge as a game of Tetris, the classic video game where you try to pack as many falling cubes into as tight a space as possible. “My husband teases me for making a game of trying to find the container that will fit our leftovers perfectly,” she says, “but that one extra step of using the smallest container possible reduces the chances of our extra grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms spoiling before we enjoy them.” That’s because the more air that surrounds your eats, the more opportunities for food-spoiling bacteria to wreak havoc. Scritchfield also points out that wrapped produce lasts far longer than produce without any packaging. For example, a cucumber wrapped in plastic lasts three times longer than a naked one.

3. Host a “Friday fridge clean up.”

Once a week, scour your refrigerator for anything that looks like it’s about to head south, then apply some culinary triage: Collard greens on the cusp of wilting can be sautéed for a few extra days of life. Peaches that won’t be eaten over the weekend can be sliced, frozen, and saved for a smoothie. Hearty veggies, like carrots, broccoli, kale, and potatoes can go straight from fridge to freezer for future stir fries or roasts. And milk and yogurt can be frozen in ice cube trays for smoothies or baking. If nothing else, take all of your remaining vegetables and make a big pot of veggie soup for the weekend.


Related: Quick Chicken-Vegetable Stew with Millet


4. Look for resealable options.

Scritchfield says many of her clients are so stressed between work and family that even transferring food from the store to their house feels like a Herculean feat. “After that, meal planning seems overwhelming, so they often forget about it or don’t care for it properly, and it spoils.” If you’re time-pressed, shop for pre-rinsed, trimmed produce like Brussels sprouts, green beans, broccoli, or cauliflower in resealable plastic bags. You can use what you need one night and quickly bag up the rest for later in the week.

5. Share your leftovers.

If all else fails, why not share your leftovers with a stranger? The Leftoverswap app allows you to snap a pic of your leftovers (half a pizza, or even a slice; cans languishing in your pantry; that pineapple that looked great in the store but you now have no clue what to do with) and upload it, where hungry people can claim it and arrange for pick-up or delivery. There’s also AmpleHarvest.org, which allows you to donate extra produce from your backyard garden to a nearby food bank. As Rolling Harvest’s Snyder puts it, “The goal is to turn food pantries into farmers markets. Everyone deserves to have fresh fruits and vegetables, and what you may not be able to use, someone else can.”

By

SHARE:

Comments (1)

Recipe by Request

Do you need some help in the kitchen? Tell us about your dietary needs and lifestyle for the chance to receive a personalized recipe idea developed by a professional chef.

 

Make a Request

Load More

Find us on Instagram

@LIVESONIMA
  • Did you know it’s good to stretch your body after swimming? 
In this article, we offer some yoga postures to open the spine, relax the shoulders, and balance the hips for your post-swim routine. 
See our bio link 🔗 for more photos and a full description of each posture. .
.
.
.
.
.
.
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection #simplefitness #stayhealthy #yogaforswimmers #stretchtherapy #stretchingexercises #stretchrevolution 
#summertime #exerciseroutine
  • Exercising your body changes your brain, it promotes a more positive outlook, enhances problem solving skills, creates a deeper sense of calm, improves recall, and heightens your cognitive abilities!

The good news is that you not only can enjoy the runner's high, while burning more calories, but running also improves your overall mental clarity. 
Read more... Link in profile! 🏃‍♀️ 🏃 .
.
.
Photo with gratitude from • @spiritualpeople 🙏🏽
.
.
.
.
.
.
#mondaymeditation #mondaymotivation #mondaymood #mondaymiles 
#yogalifestyle #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #brainhealth #mindbodyconnection
#spiritualpeople #spiritualpeoplecommunity #liveyourbestlife #runningmotivation #runninginspiration #runnershigh #runnerslife
  • “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
—Lao Tzu, philosopher and poet

Find 20 more brilliant insights on our website, shared from some of the world's most inspiring thinkers — all on love! 💖 Link in bio. .
.
.
.
.
.
#loveislove #loveislove🌈 #lovequotes #loveyourself #loveisallcolors #selfawareness #meditationchallenge #selflessservice #mindfulnessquotes 
#yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #mindbodyconnection #meditatedaily #meditationinspiration #saturdaymorning
  • .
.
If you have an umbilical hernia, modify your practice by putting less stress on your abdomen. Reduce the intensity and duration of the practice and avoid straining or lifting a lot of weight, which can increase intra-abdominal pressure and worsen the hernia. 
Always make sure to consult your doctor before returning to or beginning a yoga practice with any kind of hernia, or physical health concerns. 🙏🏽
  • The Yoga Sutras are full of ancient wisdom to help cultivate more peace of mind during troubling times. 
Here in sutra 2.33, Patanjali states: “vitarkabādhane pratipakṣabhāvanam” which translates as, “One must cultivate a mental attitude that counteracts the doubts and uncertainties that trouble us.” .

Read the full article as @andrew.hillam explains the valuable significance of this practice and suggests ways to incorporate this age-old advice on how to overcome negative thoughts into your daily life. (Follow the link in our bio) 🙏🏽 .
.
.
.
Photo by @danielletsifoto 🧡 of @sharathjoisr during #sharathjoisusa2019 .
.
.
.
#ashtangayoga #ashtangalove #ashtangavinyasayoga #fitnessmotivation #ashtangafamily #sonima #livesonima #yogahealing #yogaheals #beyondasana #yogaoffthemat #liveyoga #livefit #livehealthy #sharathjois #guruji
#sharathtour2019 #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife
#mindfulliving #livewell #thursdaymotivation #thursdaythoughts #yogasutra #yogasutras
  • 3 Ayurvedic Tips to Release Summer Heat:

1. Chill yourself by eating more cooling foods like berries, cucumber, or mint tea.

2. Use coconut oil for massage and practice slow restorative types of exercise.

3. Try cooling pranayama (breathing exercises) and integrate a regular time for calming meditation (see our feathered video). .

For more great ideas and helpful hints on how to rebalance your overheated system during these hot summer months, check out the link in our bio! 🥵 .
.
.
.
.
.
.
#summerheat #tuesdaytransformation #tuesdaymotivation #transformationtuesday #tuesdaymorning #tuesdaymotivation #yogalifestyle #yogaliving #yogadiet #positivenergy #positivelifestyle #positivemindpositivelife 
#mindfulliving #livewell #livefree #livefit #sonima #livesonima #healthylivingrevolution #healthierchoices  #balancedlife #balancediet #createbalance #createhealthyhabits #ayurvedalifestyle #ayurvedaeveryday #ayurveda #ayurvedicfood #ayurvedicmedicine
Receive fresh content delivered to your inbox every week!