Easy Ways to Keep Food From Going to Waste

Posted on 06/15/2011

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that Americans waste nearly one-third of all edible food. And according to an article from OneEarth.org, researchers from the National Institute of Health estimate Americans waste 1,400 calories of food every day. That’s the equivalent of about two full meals! Food waste is a big problem, but it’s one we can tackle with these easy steps.

Shop More - If you find yourself stocking up on more perishable food than you and your family can possibly consume before it goes bad, start shopping more often. Buy only the fresh foods you need for the next few days and avoid stocking up on items that may just go bad before you can eat them.

Cook Responsibly -
It’s important to consider portion size when cooking meals. Think about how much you and your family will realistically eat before you start whipping together dinner. Keep track of the number of servings your favorite recipes generate so you know whether to scale them back.

Move Lefties to the Front - Leftovers can be the ugly stepchild of the fridge. Instead, treat them like royal guests. Give them a prime position near the front of the shelf so you don’t forget about them. Use a sticky note to label leftovers with the date. That way you’ll know the deadline for freshness.

Use Your Freezer - Plenty of food can be frozen. Not only can it help you save time with meal preparation, but it can be a great way to hold rotting at bay. Get tips on freezing food from AllRecipes.com.

Know “Food Dating” Basics - According to The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, food dating is not required by Federal regulations on most food. If a product includes a “Sell-By” date this is the cut off for the store to offer the product for sale. A “Best if Used By (or Before)” date is only a recommendation for flavor and quality. It does not reflect food safety. A “Use-By” date is the last date the manufacturer recommends using the product for peak quality—but does not involve food safety. So just because these dates may have passed doesn’t necessarily mean you have to throw out your food.

Support Grocery Stores Reducing Waste - Grocery stores throw away tons of food—literally. Support those with programs in place that donate food before it goes bad. The SUPERVALU chain, which includes grocery stores like Albertsons and Lucky, has donated more than 60 million pounds of food to food banks around the country through the Fresh Rescue program. Ask your grocer what they’re doing to reduce food waste and help the hungry in your community.

By Alison Storm

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