23 tips to stop wasting food

It’s a vicious cycle. You stock your grocery cart full of fresh fruits and vegetables believing that this will be the week that your family eats healthy. Visions of smoothies, salads, and glorious fresh snacks. Then, the games run late, the dog gets sick, the washing machine breaks, and before you know it your crisp produce is a mushy mess in the drawer.

http://www.mywedding.com/articles/christa-beauxs-cute-diy-wedding-by-becki-walker-photography/Now you feel guilty that you wasted money and your best laid plans went amok…again.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

A very scientific study estimated that the average American family throws away approximately $2000 worth of food every year. Um…I don’t know about you, but I have a few other things I could do with $2000 than throw it in the garbage.

www.thescottishsun.co.ukSo, I ran my own very scientific study, read: asked my friends ‘what foods are most-often wasted in your house.’

Not surprising, fruits and vegetables topped the list.  Not far behind were leftover meat/chicken and deli meat. There were even a few that responded that bread, cereals, and chips (how is that possible?!) were most wasted in their homes.

We’re going to put an end to this problem in our three-part series. Since fruits & veggies seem to make it to the curb more often than your stomach, we’ll start there.

Bananas: Once they’ve hit or are beyond your “ripeness” preference…
1- make banana bread or muffins
2- mash and add to pancake batter
3- peel then freeze in a freezer-safe container to use in smoothies, future baking, or turn into “soft-serve” with a Yonanas machine!

raspberriesBerries: wash before eating to keep them fresh a bit longer
4. slice strawberries, add a bit of organic cane sugar, refrigerate for a couple of hours until there’s some juice & spoon over ice cream
5. line a pan with a single layer of berries, freeze for thirty minutes, then store in a freezer-safe container. Use for smoothies, pancakes, or muffins
6. make your own jelly/ice cream topping (seriously? yes, seriously). You don’t have time for that, right? Yes, it takes about 30 minutes of constant stirring- so before you start, grab everything you need: phone, iPad, magazine, and a comfy stool… “sorry- someone else has to let the dog out/fold the laundry/clean up the spilled milk- I can’t stop stirring!”…sound good now?! (use one type or mix several fresh/ frozen berries for this one)

Grapes: wash then freeze.
7. don’t even bother putting them in the fridge. Have you tried frozen purple grapes? Crazy delicious…and so pretty!

Celery: wash and cut so it’s ready for snack time
8. top with peanut butter
9. add to smoothies. Note: celery can have a laxative effect, may want to test on a close to home day

Avocados: not sure how this one makes the list…I’m pretty sure I eat one a day!
10. make “cheater guac!”
11. make chocolate cake…yes, that’s real, check pinterest
12. hydrate skin with an avocado mask
13. add to any sandwich for creaminess without adding mayo

imagePeppers: bell peppers, banana peppers, sweet peppers
14. dice and add to scrambled eggs
15. slice & saute with onion for veggie tacos or quesadillas

Spinach:
16. steam, cool, puree with a bit of the liquid then freeze in ice-cube trays. Each “cube” is about 1 tbsp & can be added to spaghetti sauce
17. add to smoothies for an iron boost- if you add a bit of apple you’ll never taste the spinach
18. add to scrambled eggs/omelet

Broccolli/Cauliflower:
19. steam, cool, puree with a bit of the liquid then freeze in ice-cube trays. Each “cube” is about 1 tbsp & can be added to spaghetti sauce
20. roast with a bit of olive oil & kosher salt- roasted cauliflower may be the best vegetable on the planet

http://wearychef.com/tuna-salad-lettuce-wraps/Lettuce: I think this one topped the ‘most-often tossed’ list
22. finely shred and turn the salad course into a ‘make your own’ entree. Put various ingredients (cheese, diced peppers, chopped broccoli, black beans, shredded chicken) in separate bowls and let everyone make their own salad
*bonus: it’s a great way to use up those extra veggies starting to wilt
23. skip the bun and wrap burgers/veggie burgers/sliced chicken/tuna salad (you get the idea) in the lettuce with a side of sriracha mayo to dip

Of course, composting is another option to prevent your groceries from hitting the landfill and instead create nutrient-rich soil.  Be aware, though, some composts can attract bees…yeah for the environment, not so great when you’re allergic.

Think there’s no hope for the random chicken breast or single pork chop? Stay tuned for part 2…

 

Wasted Food photo credit
Rustic Meal photo credit
Tuna wrap photo credit

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3 responses to “23 tips to stop wasting food

  1. Pingback: 15 ways to use up leftovers | ftedailygreen

  2. Pingback: No wasted food: 10 uses for bread & chips | ftedailygreen

  3. Pingback: How you can keep your produce fresh longer (hint: some need their privacy) | Conveniently Green

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