Every Foodie's Guide To Wasting Less Food (And Still Eating Well)
It doesn't matter whether you're a plant-based eater, have recently gone keto, or change up your eating based on your mood. Any way you slice it, food is powerful. Food has the capacity to create joy, heal our bodies, and even help the environment. So why are we letting so much of it go to waste?
The food waste crisis.
We all know the feeling of throwing away food that was once perfectly nutritious. What we may not know is how all that waste adds up. In fact, 931 million tonnes of food are wasted each year. In the U.S. alone, 35% of the food available goes unsold or uneaten. Numbers like this have us rethinking how much food we toss in the bin but also how we got here in the first place. While much of our food waste crisis can be attributed to our industrialized food system, individuals also have a role to play. We can each make a difference—and it's simpler than you might think.
Becoming a waste-conscious foodie is easy with just a few new habits.
If you're like us, the undeniable joy and nourishment of food keeps it high on the priority list. So shouldn't we make sure it's never wasted? Just by embracing a few new habits, like better organizing our kitchen or using a food delivery service like Daily Harvest, we can cut down on waste and the guilt that comes with it. Being a waste-conscious foodie isn't just about good eats, it's about feeling good too! So here are nine ways you can waste less food, starting today:
1. Buy more frozen fruits and vegetables.
With frozen produce, you never have to worry about something going rotten behind your back. Frozen foods can be just as nutritious as fresh food—especially with Daily Harvest. With this food company, you can choose from over 90 uniquely nourishing, chef-crafted options that simply store in your freezer. Not only are they easy to make and delicious (hello, Cremini + Asparagus Pot Pie Harvest Bowl), but they’re farm frozen on the day of harvest to provide the most nutrients.
2. Grocery shop more often, and buy less.
We all know how quickly avocados go from perfect to rotten, but most of us don't realize that on average, we're tossing 31.9% of the food in our household. Curtail food waste by buying less at the grocery, more often. Prior to every shop, double-check your fridge and pantry to avoid buying what you already have.
3. Store your produce correctly.
If your bananas are browning too quickly or your lettuce is always shriveled… You may be due for some reorganization. To keep produce fresh for longer, separate your fruits and vegetables, as the ethylene gas of many fruits will speed up ripening. Make sure all your vegetables have enough air circulation around them; otherwise, they'll spoil early!
4. Freeze your leftovers.
Instead of sending your leftovers or scraps straight to the trash, freeze them for later. Freeze your fresh herbs with water in an ice cube tray and use them for future recipes. You can do the same with a bottle of wine you won't be finishing—make some wine ice cubes and plop them into the next sauce you whisk up.
5. Organize your food by visibility and by expiration date.
If the new yogurts you bought are hiding out behind the OJ, they may never see the light of day. In the rush of our busy lives, it's unrealistic to dig through the refrigerator every mealtime. Instead, invest in organizers and arrange your fridge so that all items are visible and accessible. Do your best to keep the food with the soonest expiration dates toward the front.
6. Put your kitchen scraps to use.
In our collective efforts to reduce food waste, many foodies are inventing clever ways to make use of food scraps. Save all your vegetable scraps to make a flavorful broth or soup, or turn them into veggie chips! Turn leftover broccoli or cauliflower stock into coleslaw, or leftover bread into breadcrumbs or even bread pudding. Other leftover foods like eggs, chicken, or rice can be added to uplevel your Daily Harvest meals, too. Leftover noodles and the Brussel Sprouts + Lime Pad Thai Harvest Bowl? Don't mind if we do.
7. Start composting.
Composting is one of the simplest ways to send less food to the trash can. In terms of methane gas, if every American composted, it would be the equivalent of taking 7.8 million cars off the road! If you don't have a local composting service, here are some ideas to make your own compost bin.
8. Shop locally.
A significant amount of our food is wasted before it hits the stores, from insects and pests during production to losses during transportation. Local shops don't require as many steps to get food on the shelves, reducing the chance of food waste.
9. Plan out your meals and groceries for the week.
Even if we have a fridge full of groceries…without a plan, we're more likely to order takeout and let our food creep toward their expiration dates. Try planning out a realistic number of meals for the week ahead, and shop accordingly. Or, use a food company like Daily Harvest to stock up your home with delicious food that's made to keep up with the pace of your life. Between the Kale + Sweet Potato Flatbread, Carrot + Coconut Curry Soup, or their brand-new Harvest Bakes, you'll have meals to look forward to all week.
Multiply your love for food.
As foodies, nothing makes us happier than turning a kitchen full of healthy food into a flavorful meal, and becoming waste-conscious doesn't detract from that. When we take only what we need and use everything we have, our appreciation for food only multiplies… And the rest of the world is better for it. Food will always be powerful. But by wasting less, we can help everyone get a taste of all food can do.
Devon Barrow is a Branded Content Strategist at mindbodygreen. She received her degree from the University of Colorado. When she's away from her desk, Devon is teaching yoga, writing poetry, meditating, and traveling the world. She's based in Boulder, Colorado.
Devon's first book, Earth Women, is coming soon. To learn more, join the mailing list, and receive updates, head to www.devonbarrowwriting.com.