May 2021 7 Tips to Cut Down on Food Waste
By Brittany Humphreys
Food waste is uneaten food that gets tossed, incinerated, poured down the drain, or left in the field unharvested. In 2019, this was the fate for more than 80 million tons of food in the United States, according to ReFED. A 2020 Penn State study estimates that the average household throws out 32% of the food it buys, costing about $1,866 annually. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 20 percent of total U.S. methane emissions come from landfills. Yes, food waste is a big issue—but there are small changes you can make to cut down on your household’s food waste. Here are some easy tips to save money, reduce your environmental impact, and save the food!
Slice your bread and store it in the freezer.
No more tossing moldy bread, and you’ll have toast ready in a snap. Slice your fresh bread as soon as you bring it home and seal the pieces in a gallon-size freezer bag. Bread and other baked goods will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Store milk in the coldest part of the fridge—not the door.
Every time your refrigerator is opened, the temperature rises. This is especially problematic if milk is kept in the door, which is the warmest part of your refrigerator. To stretch the shelf life of milk and other easily-soured dairy products, store them in the back of your refrigerator.
Overripe fruit is just begging to be baked.
Save the heel of the bread loaf for breadcrumbs.
Let the heel sit out and get stale for a day. Grind up in a blender or food processor. Toast them on low heat in the oven until slightly crispy. Then throw them on pasta or salad for texture, or use to bulk up burger patties and meatballs.
Wilting veggies? Make pasta, soup, or enchiladas!
Give wilting spinach and other about-to-go-bad veggies new life with a toss in the saucepan before adding it to cooked pasta, broth, or eggs. Here’s an easy enchilada recipe for those extra veggie scraps.
Plan for days when you are likely to eat out or not cook.
If you love to dine out, have a favorite takeout spot, or often arrive home too late to cook, keep that in mind when grocery shopping. Try to be realistic with your approximations. Ask yourself, ‘will I finish all this spinach before it goes bad?’ Or ‘will I be meeting up with friends for dinner out Friday?’ Carefully plan ahead to save yourself from overbuying—your budget will thank you.
Leftover veggies + eggs = protein-packed breakfast.
If you’ve got eggs, you’ve got breakfast. If you’ve got veggies and eggs, you’ve got a fiber- and nutrient-rich breakfast. Frittatas can be made in a muffin tin, and they’re freezable—perfect for using up vegetables from the night before.
At first, these small changes may seem insignificant—food waste is such a monumental problem. However, household waste accounts for 37% of all food waste in the U.S. If every American household makes small changes to reduce their food waste, we will see significant progress towards a greener and more efficient future.
About the Author:
Humphreys is a senior at CSU majoring in Nutrition and Food Science. She is especially interested in nutritional sciences, and is learning more about this as a practicum student at the KRNC. A fun fact about her is that she transferred to CSU from the University of Alabama in 2020, where she conducted research into the phytochemicals in microgreens!
For additional resources to healthy eating, check out these programs from our registered dietitian nutritionists. Find delicious and healthy recipes on our Recipes page! More health tips are also available at the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board. Lastly, don’t forget to sign up for the KRNC monthly newsletter!