Food fight: Waging a war against food waste

Back in December, I decided to eat more fruits and vegetables. No matter what, I was going to eat more of them. And that's saying something, especially since I've created a few excuses to avoid eating healthy food.

Even though my main excuse wasn't the expense, it's still an obstacle to healthy eating. At least, that's a common excuse I hear when eating better food comes up in conversation. And I wanted to know if it was possible to eat more fruits and vegetables without spending more at the supermarket.

Determined this would not be a New Year's resolution, given my dismal failure rate, I loaded up my grocery cart with produce a couple of days after Christmas. “You're buying just produce?” said the friendly checkout clerk.

“Yes,” I said, explaining my goal to eat more fruits and veggies.

“Let me know how that works out for you,” she said. And she laughed.

I laughed, too… until she rang up my total. Whoa! Maybe I couldn't afford to eat like this. But I paid the bill, and I've been eating more (and paying for) lots of fruits and vegetables ever since.

What do you really care about?

My goal was simple: Eat more fruits and vegetables as cheaply as possible. That's it. I didn't want to worry about eating organically, or locally, or in season. If my vegetables were organic, great. If they weren't, well, increased fruit and vegetable consumption was the goal. I wavered in my focus when I went to a workshop on local eating, but then I had to tell myself that I could only concentrate on one goal at a time. Becoming a locavore could be a goal for another time.

Eliminating food waste

Before I worried about how much I spent on produce, I needed to get my food waste under control. It's ridiculous when I think about it: Why try to save money on groceries if I'm wasting so much food? And most of my food waste is produce. Ridiculous.

As ridiculous as I am, I'm not alone. In 2010, U.S. kitchens produced 34 million tons of food waste.

Obviously, we need help. I may redeem myself slightly because I compost what gets moldy before we eat it. So my food doesn't go to the landfill. But if I buy food only to throw it on the compost pile, I have very expensive compost. So what can I do?

1. Don't buy food we won't eat. I love salads, especially salads of baby greens (the most expensive!). But we frequently don't eat more than one salad with one meal and we're done. The rest is wasted. Romaine lettuce lasts longer. Spinach is more versatile. I have soup recipes that call for spinach or I can saute it or eat a spinach salad. Grapes also top my food waste list. I like grapes, but we don't eat them quickly enough. Either I need to find a way to eat these foods or quit buying them.

2. Buy the largest package we will consume. I'm convinced that supermarkets package food for families, not two-person households. I am finally starting to buy smaller packages of food which I should have done a long time ago, but better late than never.

3. Share what we can't consume. But if you can't buy a smaller package, share with someone in your community. For instance, I love cilantro, but can never use up all of it before it gets yellowed. I could and should share my cilantro with others.

4. Use all parts of the food. A few weeks ago, I came across an article about a chef who uses all the parts of food that I composted without thinking about it. Of course, I can't find the article now, but I remember some basic points. She made vegetable broth out of things that would normally be tossed. Papery onion skins, celery tops, and peelings still have nutrients in them and can make great vegetable broth.

Vegetable broth can be made with broccoli stalks, but the stalks can also be eaten along with the florets. My mom always discarded the stalks, and so did I, until I realized they were edible, too. I've heard that peeling the stalks makes them more tender. If you like the taste, you can add them to salads.

5. Use up your food. Uncharacteristically, my husband bought me an early Valentine's Day present this year — and he spent more than $130 on it. It was a blender. Believe me, nothing says “I love you” more than a blender that cuts down on food waste and helps me eat more fruits and vegetables. (I'm being very serious. I smile every time I look at it. Of course, an expensive blender doesn't offset food waste costs, but I'm going to use if I have it.)

Anyway, you don't have to look far to find green smoothie recipes. I've been using spinach and fruit in my smoothies for a few years, but this new high-powered smoothie helps me kick it up a notch. Those grapes that we don't always eat? Throw them in the blender. Have a couple of broccoli florets? Blender. Leftover cooked sweet potato? You know where it belongs. It's made a huge difference in decreasing our produce food waste.

And your blender doesn't have to be expensive to make this work. If you haven't tried green smoothies yet, start out with some fruit (frozen berries and a banana are great), a liquid (orange juice, water, yogurt), ice (if you don't use frozen fruit) and a handful of fresh spinach. When you get brave, add in broccoli, yellow peppers, and carrots along with your fruit.

Disguising vegetables and fruits this way made we think of other ways to use up food. Soups? Spaghetti sauce? Often pureed food can be used in quick breads or muffins. As Kristin mentioned in a recent article, she uses juicer pulp to make scones.

Food waste wastes resources, but it also makes me feel guilty. I have enough food and I waste it. Others don't even have enough food.

How do you prevent or deal with food waste? Do you think it makes a difference for your grocery budget?

More about...Food, Frugality

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Phoebe
Phoebe
7 years ago

It can be really hard to keep fruits and veggies fresh. We live in a 2 person household as well so I know the pain!

One more tip is to prepare anything that is about to go bad.

If I feel like we have some veggies that are on their last leg I’ll throw them in a casserole or some other meal and then freeze it. This way the veggies get used up and I have a backup meal for those nights that cooking seems impossible.

Jennifer
Jennifer
7 years ago
Reply to  Phoebe

My husband and I scramble onions, mushrooms and tomatoes into eggs for breakfast every morning and eat a tangerine or apple with it for fruit. Every dinner we make at least one vegetable, more often two. I love using some left over vegetables that are about to go bad in spaghetti sauce, and in casseroles, like others have suggested. I also bought a set of plastic ware several years ago that claimed to keep fruits and vegetables fresher longer. I have found that they work! Also, I have found a couple of fruit and vegetable containers from Home Goods that… Read more »

Simple Economist
Simple Economist
7 years ago
Reply to  Phoebe

We do that too! We tend to freeze items and make things like chili or casseroles that do well when unthawed.

We, like Lisa, also make heavy use of the blender (we took our blender glass off and use mason jars – easier to clean and surprisingly fit on almost every normal blender!

Even stuff like spinach that goes bad quickly can be frozen and then used in smoothies anytime.

Calliope
Calliope
7 years ago

I live in Greece where people eat veggies and fruits daily. In fact, i’d say that it constists the 60% of their daily food. Cheese, legumes and meat are the rest 40%. That said, we’ve come up w a lot of dishes where one or two vegetables are the main ingredient, the other is usually olive oil. So, vegetables are not only tasteless side dishes or salads. They do cost a lot here, too. Now more than ever. I buy smaller quantities but that is usual in Europe, to buy enough food for just a couple of days. Whenever there… Read more »

William Cowie
William Cowie
7 years ago

A good challenge for sure — reminds me of the Subway slogan a few years back: fat is cheap! My wife and I have the same goal, and one way to achieve it is rotation. Although we’d like to eat, say, oranges, apples and bananas, we only buy two of the three, and tell ourselves next time we’ll buy another combination. A way to compensate for the added bill is lighten up on the meat. We’re not vegetarians, but at least two or three days a week we cut out meat. Just that one single change has brought our grocery… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago

I use all of the tips above, but I also have a few recipes up my sleeve to use up food in a hurry — like stir fry, soup, apple crisp, etc. I also rely on fruits and vegetables that have a long shelf life (like root veggies, cabbage, apples, etc) as staples and then supplement with those that need to be used up fairly quickly. (You can find all this info online.) People also tend to forget that frozen vegetables are just as healthy as fresh, and you don’t have to worry about them going bad. I keep them… Read more »

Somsiah
Somsiah
7 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Same as Elizabeth, here. Use the tips as in the article as well stir fry and soup. Also juicing to increase the intake of fruit & vegetables. I don’t like smoothie though, so no blending accept in making soup. Frozen vegetables, staples like cabbage & carrot are also included. I also have the luxury of a walking distance wet market, where fruit and vegetables can be purchased daily if I have to. One strategy I thought could be useful to reduce waste is to decide what is to be the main veges & fruit for the week. Especially the ones… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Somsiah

I second the tip about having a plan! I tend to go a little crazy in the summer when the farmers’ markets are open, but I learned to shop with a list and a purpose. For example, I’ll only buy the big basket of coloured peppers when I’m ready to chop them up and freeze them. I set aside time to make freezer jam when the fruits I like best are at the peak of the growing season. I also learned a long time ago that the nice folks at the market will make me up a small, mixed basket… Read more »

Sheryl
Sheryl
7 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

Frozen vegetables are a great tip. There are some dishes that you can just taste the difference in and so I go fresh, but there’s lots I can do with a frozen vegetable when I’m trying to make my produce dollars stretch farther. I’m also a planner. If I know what meals I want to make throughout the week and what vegetables are involved it’s easy to purchase around those and skip the extras. Having a list does help reduce waste. One thing I’d love to do in the future is buy my vegetables more often but in smaller quantities.… Read more »

Jenne
Jenne
7 years ago
Reply to  Sheryl

Frozen peas are something to keep in the freezer at all times; they are better than most other peas available and can be thrown into anything to green it up.

betttylion
betttylion
7 years ago

My fiance and I have been pretty gung-ho about eating more fruits and veggies, too. It IS expensive, sadly. The blender has eliminated my fruit waste because if I have too much of it in fear of going bad, I blend it up (with greens) and pour it into dixie cups and freeze. This makes my green smoothies so easy, because all I do is grab 2 cups + banana + can of pinapple juice and blend. So the only “fresh” thing I need on hand for my smoothies is a banana, and if I overbought on those I can… Read more »

Savvy Scot
Savvy Scot
7 years ago

We are all about the soups… Vitamix is good for blending even left over meals into a soup! 🙂

Sara
Sara
7 years ago

I grow it again! It’s easier than you think, provided you have a sunny window and some pots. Here’s a link so I don’t have to explain it. http://www.thekitchn.com/bok-choy-garlic-pineapple-more-17-plants-you-can-grow-from-kitchen-scraps-183636

Pauline
Pauline
7 years ago

Food waste is a pet peeve of mine. I like to freeze extra portions to get rid of all the vegetables but avoid getting bored with the leftovers. I also freeze bags of diced celery, chopped spinach… so I can grab a handful for a recipe. Otherwise I wouldn’t use the whole bunch of celery quick enough. When I have other odd bits of veggies I throw them in a tupperware in the freezer and when it is full I make soup.

Ashley @ VaultWorthy
Ashley @ VaultWorthy
7 years ago
Reply to  Pauline

Yes, same here! I usually divide whatever fruits and vegetables I buy and freeze half of it. Not only does it make the food last longer, but you can easily make frozen smoothies this way. Whatever frozen vegetable or fruit you use, you don’t have to add any ice to it to make it frozen.

I especially love to do these during the summertime. Just add all the seasonal fruits in, some carrots and yogurt. Deliciousness!!

Marcella
Marcella
7 years ago
Reply to  Pauline

How do you successfully freeze celery? Mine turns into mush when I defrost? Pre-cut or whole?? Ziplock freezer bags?

mary w
mary w
7 years ago
Reply to  Marcella

Frozen celery only works in soups and other cooked feed. Won’t work in salds or for other raw uses. I chop before I freeze.

Jezna
Jezna
7 years ago

FREEZE THE GRAPES!!!! Grapes are fantastic frozen! They’re like mini-icepops! I prefer them frozen than fresh. You can also freeze berries to use in smoothies, in yogurt and oatmeal.

chubblywubbly
chubblywubbly
7 years ago
Reply to  Jezna

Not only are frozen grapes awesome but so are frozen bananas!

I used to waste lots of food but after living abroad for a year and seeing firsthand how people struggle to even put food on the table made me change my ways completely.

For the past couple of months I have had almost zero food waste. The thing is plan out your menu grocery list and stick to that. Everything is easier and more doable with a plan!

delivery driver
delivery driver
7 years ago

All our scraps and vegetables that we didn’t make it to before they went bad go into the compost pile. At least then the nutrition I didn’t get goes to my plants. Also, try growing some of these vegetables that you’re eating. You don’t have to have acreage, some things are pretty easy, and you can save a lot of money.

eec
eec
7 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

I compost and had a small garden last summer but lost my harvest to the squirrels! Didn’t know that they eat cilantro and tomatoes. Not sure what I will do this year.

Panda
Panda
7 years ago

We’re trying to get better about food waste, but still have a long ways to go. We’ve joined a CSA for the majority of our produce, so each week becomes it’s own mini-challenge to eat it before we get the next shipment. We’ll prioritize what will go bad faster and try to eat those things first.

Lots of soups and quiches to use up random vegetables. You can put anything in a quiche.

Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle
Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle
7 years ago

Frozen vegetables mean you can have lots of variety without the waste. A big head of fresh cauliflower means we are stuck eating cauliflower every night for a week so it doesn’t go to waste.

Costco has great deals on frozen fruit. Frozen raspberries put in a bowl in the fridge in the morning are are ready to eat at supper time.

Eating more fruits and veg was my goal too. I have to remember that potatoes in the form of Lays potato chips are not the best vegetable choice.

adult student
adult student
7 years ago

Haha, that’s where I am with a head of red cabbage: don’t even want to finish the leftovers from the first dish, and there’s still half a head left to cook and eat!

The only problem with frozen vegetables is that they’re not crispy, and some dishes are good that way. Frozen spinach is great because it’s never crispy and it’s something like 5x cheaper than fresh; frozen peppers and broccoli are not as good, IMO.

Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle
Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle
7 years ago
Reply to  adult student

I do not enjoy frozen broccoli so I just choose other vegetables.

Frozen raspberries are great eaten as is but frozen strawberries are only good pureed when slightly frozen. No sugar required and one of my favourite desserts.

A-L
A-L
7 years ago

I’ve been guilty of food waste as well, but since around Thanksgiving I’ve made a concerted effort to eat more produce. The biggest helper has been switching to eating salads for lunch. I will make 4 salads at a time (I’d do a 5th if I had an extra tupperware container) and make a variety of salads. The airtight containers seem to help the food stay fresher, and I just grab a salad and some dressing in the morning before going to work. I also try and choose fruit that don’t need to be packaged (apple, orange, banana). Either that,… Read more »

TTMK
TTMK
7 years ago

This has been a challenge for me. I’m usually good with avoiding wasteful spending in general, but this is one area that I can work on.

To me, it’s important to not be frugal when it comes to eating healthy. This primarily comes into play when spending on nutritious food. However, it can also be important not to eat food that’s gone bad.

Paying attention to food that can spoil quickly (fruits, veggies, dairy) and making sure you plan meals around when the food is fresh is one way that I’m working on this.

adult student
adult student
7 years ago

The part of avoiding food waste that always gets me is the bits you cut off of vegetables – it’s not that they’re not edible, it’s that I just have no desire to cook them. I don’t use the stems of kale and chard because even though they’re edible, I don’t particularly like them. The last time I tried to save the large central broccoli stems to cook them like a kohlrabi root, I just never did it, and I had to throw them out. I don’t save the tops of leeks and carrots or bottoms of onions to make… Read more »

Kelly M
Kelly M
7 years ago
Reply to  adult student

Hi Adult Student, I make vegetable stock with my veggie scraps. I just collect them in a gallon freezer bag and once a month (or when I have time) I make veggie stock with them. All you have to do is fill a large stock pot with water, bring it to a boil, add the scraps and then simmer for 20 minutes. Let the stock cool, scoop out the veggies and compost them, and then I strain the mixture into freezer-safe containers. I freeze it in 1 and 3 cup increments and then just thaw them as I need them.… Read more »

Laura
Laura
7 years ago

I think you know this, but it wasn’t specifically mentioned in your article – buy what’s in season whenever possible. Even in the big supermarkets, local produce in season is going to be cheaper than at another time. This also allows you to mix up what you tend to eat. Check farmers’ markets. They may be cheaper or they may be more expensive. (Here in Boston, they are a LOT more expensive.) Check other markets – ethnic stores, etc. In Boston, go to the Haymarket http://www.boston-discovery-guide.com/haymarket-boston.html#.USI6SmetZI0 – I would hope other cities have similar types of markets. I’m with the… Read more »

Beth
Beth
7 years ago
Reply to  Laura

The thing I’ve noticed is, while foods from alternative sources (markets, veg boxes etc) may *seem* more expensive, in fact, because they’re in season and haven’t been shipped for miles, they’re likely to last a lot longer than those from supermarkets, which means you’re less likely to end up wasting them. I’m vegetarian, and I almost never waste any food, but I also almost never buy veg from a supermarket. I get a vegbox regularly (not weekly – that’s too much for me!), and the veg are so much tastier, and longer lasting, than those in a supermarket – and… Read more »

Jason @ WSL
Jason @ WSL
7 years ago

I’d like to think that we waste very little food. We’re not perfect by any stretch, but our meals are planned our carefully each week and our grocery list is made in accordance to those meals. We rarely throw food away and if we “waste” anything it’s the peels of a vegetable or some part of a food that most people wouldn’t eat.

Juli
Juli
7 years ago

We are pretty good about now wasting food, but I definitely need to get back into eating more produce. My husband and 4 year old are both the type that would honestly prefer a juicy apple over a piece of gooey chocolate cake, but not me. Eating veggies is something I have to consciously force myself to do, and lately I haven’t been doing enough forcing. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

Linh
Linh
7 years ago

When grapes are on sale, my boyfriend’s mom buys them and then freezes a portion. Yummy and cheap. Their freezer is small too.

brandy
brandy
7 years ago

I actually take the kids’ leftover fruit, cut off the bitten parts, and throw the rest in the freezer. Bananas are for smoothies and apples are for chicken apple meatballs. Everything else I figure something to do with it! (usually a smoothie). That’s the biggest source of our waste and I couldn’t stand it any more!

My Financial Independence Journey
My Financial Independence Journey
7 years ago

The food waste problem is even worse when you’re single. I try real hard to use up as much of my vegetables before they go bad. I can’t say that I succeed every time, but I’ve made a lot of progress with regard to reducing my food waste.

R. L. Youssef
R. L. Youssef
7 years ago

I agree with one of the other commenters about freezing vegetables. I know fresh is great, but frozen does cub waste and is substantially cheaper while being comparably as healthy. I find that my frozen vegetables are crispy. How are you cooking them? A quick blanch or a light steam is all they need, and the crunch should remain. I also agree that growing your own is a fantastic idea. It’s the cheapest and healthiest way. Also, all of your compost waste will then have a purpose. Even just planing little pots of herbs and putting them on your windowsill… Read more »

MJ in Milano
MJ in Milano
7 years ago

The book about using everything is: http://www.amazon.com/Everlasting-Meal-Cooking-Economy-Grace/dp/1439181888. It is a lovely read.

Nic
Nic
7 years ago

We have found that shopping at farm stands have cut out food bill in half. They certainly are as easy as the supermarket but the cost offsets the inconvenience. We also have investing in Tupperware fridge smart products which have extended the life of our produce by nearly 3x. Like the blender it is an upfront cost but it has to pay itself off within the year the it starts saving money since you aren’t throwing as much out (or compost for you green folks) Composting doesn’t work well in apartment living so its eat it or trash if for… Read more »

Beth
Beth
7 years ago

The thing I’ve noticed is, while foods from alternative sources (markets, veg boxes etc) may *seem* more expensive, in fact, because they’re in season and haven’t been shipped for miles, they’re likely to last a lot longer than those from supermarkets, which means you’re less likely to end up wasting them. I’m vegetarian, and I almost never waste any food, but I also almost never buy veg from a supermarket. I get a vegbox regularly (not weekly — that’s too much for me!), and the veg are so much tastier, and longer lasting, than those in a supermarket — and… Read more »

Beth
Beth
7 years ago

Oh – one other thing worth mentioning is, it’s worthwhile learning how each vegetable should be stored. I was keeping tomatoes in the fridge, for example, but they last longer if *not* refrigerated! I think a lot of us put everything in the fridge, when in fact, many veggies do better in a warmer/drier atmosphere (unless it’s 100 degrees or something, obviously!).

Cat
Cat
7 years ago

Healthy eating is always a challenge, and you’re right, its more challenging than just the bill at the supermarket, eliminating waste is hard too! We’ve spent years as a society creating foods that have preservatives in them so we can eat them later and eliminate waste, and now many of us are going back to the fresh produce and healthier living/organic/natural choices, which means we are faced with learning how to use our portion control and only buy and consume what we eat. I found out that I eat a lot less than I thought I did, and you have… Read more »

Holly Thrifty
Holly Thrifty
7 years ago

Reducing food waste happens when you think outside of your routine. Consider a puree of nearly anything from root vegetables to peas. Those less than perfect or slightly wilted vegetables get a new life (and taste) as a puree. Just add some butter and fat free half and half. (Save the peels in a freezer bag for stock.) Tired apples and pears come to life when you peel them, place them in a crock pot with raisins or other dried fruit to make apple/pear sauce. Stew tired/shriveled citrus with dried prunes for a delicious topping for plain or Greek yogurt.… Read more »

superbien
superbien
7 years ago

To back up the “make broth or stock” comment: I have a big Ziplock bag in the freezer with a frozen soup bone in it for convenience, and as I cut up well-washed vegetables I put all the scraps in (the skin and leafy part of the carrot, potato peelings, the green part of leeks, and ESPECIALLY the papery skins of onions and garlic), and keep them all frozen in that big bag until there are enough to work with. Huge saving on stuff that would otherwise get tossed or composted, and you get all those vitamins back into your… Read more »

pt
pt
7 years ago
Reply to  superbien

Or-you can throw all of those veggie/bone scraps in the crockpot overnight to make your broth!

Suba
Suba
7 years ago

Soups and frozen mixed veggies saves me from wasting most of the extra stuff. I also cook for a maximum of 2-3 days. I tried 1 week cooking, may be it is our choice of recipes, but somehow the taste (for us) deteriorates after a couple of days in fridge. We only buy produce for 2-3 days at a time because I hate wasting food. I personally knew people who would love to have veggies once a month, so it hits me hard when I have to throw something out. It is extra work to hit the groceries more frequently… Read more »

Kelly@Financial-Lessons
7 years ago

I’ve definitely seen a difference in my grocery bill since eating healthier, fresh foods rather than packaged processed foods. But I’ve also seen a major difference in my health, and to me its definitely worth it. My main tip for food shopping is to be realistic when you’re at the store. Just because you want to aim to eat three servings of fruit and veggies every day, or an entire bundle of tomatoes, doesn’t mean you actually will. Take not of the amount of healthy foods you actually consume, and be realistic when you’re at the supermarket to only buy… Read more »

Jan
Jan
7 years ago

A little off topic but I am trying to not use plastics for food storage anymore and have had great luck re-using my glass pasta, jelly, etc jars. I can now see what I have stored and how much there is easily!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
7 years ago
Reply to  Jan

I love my glass too! Unless food is going in the freezer — things have a habit of “jumping out” when it gets too full.

I saw on the news the other night that “mason jar salads” are becoming trendy for lunches and dinners because they’re easy to make and store. You put some dressing in the bottom, add the hard vegetables and then pile your leafy greens on top. Screw the lid on and store, then give it a good shake right before eating. (Here’s a video: http://allrecipes.com/video/858/mason-jar-salad/detail.aspx)

Jen Y
Jen Y
7 years ago

I’m not sure I totally agree with the thought that eating healthy costs more. Yes, healthy foods themselves may cost more initially but once you learn how to cook, how to use up & how to store well they last longer. Also eating healthy means eating less, so you buy less. I’ve noticed this the most with snacks at my house. Where I used to easily spend $10 a week on chips, I now spend the same amount on nuts that last us two weeks. Yes I can’t get as many nuts for the same amount of money as I… Read more »

WILD about Finance
WILD about Finance
7 years ago

I’m SO glad you mentioned this subject as it is honestly one of my pet hates. People are starving throughout the world yet we’re wasting tonnnes of food each day! I watched a program on TV last week and apparently the biggest wasted item is Bread, theres tonnes of it found in bins each and every day.

Carolyn
Carolyn
7 years ago

I didn’t know that about bread. We freeze all our bread so there is no waste. If we were to have fresh bread that had gone stale I’d turn it into breadcrumbs. Maybe people just don’t think about it?

kelly
kelly
7 years ago

I like to make ratatouille with the bits of veggies that are not bad but will be in a few days. Steam the veggies, then sautee in olive oil, add some tomato paste and/or tomato sauce and whatever seasonings you like, sprinkle some cheese and voila a yummy side dish. I also freeze fresh mangoes, sliced apples grapes, bananas, berries, peppers, etc. You can do smoothies for fruits and minestrone for veggies as well. You can find how to freeze lots of stuff at http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html. I also buy more frozen veggies. I have tried different brands of forzen veggies and… Read more »

Carla
Carla
7 years ago

I prevent food waste by only buying what I can consume within a few days. When it comes to meats, fish (and other food I can freeze), nuts, seeds and other dried goods, I stock. When it comes to produce, however, I don’t “fill up my cart” or stock up. I eat about 10+ servings of fruits and veggies daily so it may look like a lot in my cart but its gone within 2-3 days. I also live withing walking distance to several stores, farmers market, and I’m mostly only feeding myself so shopping frequently is not a big… Read more »

The Norwegian Girl
The Norwegian Girl
7 years ago

When I cook food, I try to only make the amount suitable for two adults, and no more. If I do have any leftovers I freeze it.

Darnell Jackson
Darnell Jackson
7 years ago

Excellent topic Lisa,

There are two people in this world.

Those who know what it’s like to want to eat but can’t and everybody else.

Once you’ve had that experience you don’t look at food the same.

diane
diane
7 years ago

Grapes can be frozen and are a fab snack in the summer!

Dona Collins
Dona Collins
7 years ago

We have had a hard time with the cost of fruits/veggies in the past. The solution, for us, was to STOP buying fruits and veggies at the grocery store – they’re most expensive there. We now show at the local produce market. We often ended up getting more than we need, which resulted in waste. BUT we changed our habits again. We now have a juicer and we also drink green smoothies, ensuring we create less waste. I am also a lot better at freezing certain foods before they go bad. Some defrost well to just eat; others freeze well… Read more »

Patti Capparelli
Patti Capparelli
7 years ago

I found that most of our money was being wasted on overspending at the grocery store. My family could not consume as many fruits and veggies as I bought.

I have a nutribullet and I love juicing fruits and veggies. If I notice an item needs to be used quickly, I’ll make a juice. So, much less waste.

Also, I now only grocery shop for 3 meals at a time. I never cooked every night of the week even though my fantasy self believed that I would!

tas
tas
7 years ago

someone above may have mentioned this, but that *expensive* salad bar is a great cheap option for grabbing lettuce for just a single meal. it’s light so doesn’t actually cost that much and you can grab just what you need. tons of other veggies on there too. cooking seasonally can also be a tactic to cut down on food costs — you’re more likely to find sales or just low prices on stuff in season. learning how to store veggies the right way (i.e. putting an apple with the onions to keep both fresh) helps too. i’ve seen some great… Read more »

Elena
Elena
7 years ago

One thing we try really hard to do in our house is empty the fridge before we go shopping again. If we don’t, things tend to disappear into corners and never get eaten. This often leaves us with a bizarre collection of ingredients, but there’s a great website called supercook.com that lets you input ingredients, and it will give you a list of recipes. It’s been a lifesaver more than once. However, living in Korea, we have a ton of food waste. Why? Because the pesticide use is three times higher than almost any other country. So we have to… Read more »

Viola
Viola
7 years ago
Reply to  Elena

Supercook.com is a terrific suggestion! Thanks!

CJH
CJH
7 years ago

Re: US anual food waste…34 million tons, not pounds!!!

Recently started juicing. Good place for a lot of produce waste. I’m now in direct competition with my backyard laying hens.

Zeke
Zeke
7 years ago

Mix all those old vegetables into some broth….baby we got a stew goin’.

Diane
Diane
7 years ago

Celery, mushrooms, and summer squash can be sliced, dried and used later in soups and sauces. Shred broccoli stems in a food processer and use them for slaw or soup. Bell peppers can be sliced and frozen. If you have citrus you don’t want to eat, grate off the zest, squeeze out the juice, and freeze both for cooking with later. Bottles of juice or cider can be divided into many small portions and frozen for cooking or drinking. Most fruits can be dried as well as frozen. Same for herbs.

Paul
Paul
7 years ago

This is easier for me because I live across the street from a Whole Foods Market, but what I do is go shopping every 2-3 days and strictly buy what I need, and then only go shopping again when I am no longer able to make a balanced meal (protein/veggies/carb/etc). I have significantly cut down on waste, especially by only purchasing quick frozen veggies (no preservatives, quick frozen to retain freshness).

stellamarina
stellamarina
7 years ago

I think that it is interesting that many college campuses are cutting back on food waste by not providing trays for the students to carry their food on. Students not so likely to load up on food..

Misty Mikes
Misty Mikes
7 years ago

As a single person, I’ve found that eating fresh is actually cheaper than eating processed junk food. 🙂 I eat less meat than most Americans are used to eating, but as it turns out, I’m a lot healthier that way. I am by no means a vegetarian (from what I’ve read, meat is important for long term health!), but you really don’t need to eat as much meat as you think you do, and if you’re honest with yourself, that’s probably more than half of your grocery budget (unless you are buying a stupid amount of vegetables, or buying them… Read more »

Priswell
Priswell
7 years ago
Reply to  Misty Mikes

And as far as cooking beans goes, a pressure cooker is your friend! Learn to use a pressure cooker, and beans are EASY not to mention brown rice! Brown rice cooks up tender and fluffy.

Ann I. Ball
Ann I. Ball
7 years ago

1) The dehydrator is your friend when not wanting to waste food. We love making our own fruit rollups/ fruit jerky/ fruit leather.

2)Learn to can your own vegetables (if you don’t mind cooked foods).

3)Buy a big freezer.

4)If some fruit or vegetable becomes inedible-> compost pile for your garden.

5) No matter the expense for a healthful diet, it’s not as expensive as a hospital bill (and you usually feel much better).

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