Thanks to StopFoodWaste.org for starting this important conversation about preventing and eliminating food waste and sponsoring 510families.com. StopWaste helps Alameda County’s residents, businesses and schools waste less, recycle properly, and use water, energy, and other resources efficiently.
Saving Food is Saving Money
Each Monday, I ambitiously stock up on fresh produce at Whole Foods and spend the rest of the week scrambling to eat it all so I don't have to toss it into the compost. The StopFoodWaste website aims to help me (and you!) to do just that with recipes, tips, and hacks to save food waste and save money.
Did you know that over 40% of wasted food in the U.S. comes from households? Imagine walking out of a grocery store with four bags of groceries, dropping one and just leaving it in the parking lot. Crazy, right? That is essentially how much food we are wasting in our homes today, which is equivalent to a loss of $1500 per year for a family of four.
If that's not enough, reducing food waste is one of the leading solutions to climate change.
Prepping Healthy Snacks and Meals
As I browsed StopFoodWaste.org I found a number of simple, actionable tips that I started using immediately to cut the amount of food going to waste in my house. These are the ones that jumped out at me:
- Storing berries so they last. Since my child eats raspberries as his only fruit, I am heavily invested to making them last. Remove the icky berries ASAP and add in clean paper towels to keep them dry in the fridge. More on saving berries longer >
- Prep now. Eat Later. Take the extra few minutes when unloading groceries to make my food easier to eat all week with some rinsing and chopping. What and how to prep for the week >
- Perfectly ripen my avocados, (almost) every time. I used to always mess up when to have avocados on the counter and when to put in the fridge. Now, I'm an avocado master. The trick to the perfect avocado >
- Eat what we buy. Using up the food we already have at home before buying more is like finding free money in my pocket. Need help remembering how to keep track of the food in your fridge?
By taking a few extra minutes to wash, chop, and store my fresh produce, it is easier to grab celery sticks and use my avocados throughout the week. You might find a couple ideas that help you right away or get motivated to overhaul the way you do your weekly shopping.
The bottom line: every positive action helps us save money, reduce our climate impact, and limit the overall food going uneaten in our homes.
Is Dinner Hiding in Your Fridge?
Several local families share their realistic advice and stories about how they reduce wasted food in their own homes; from how to upcycle a Halloween pumpkin into a tasty soup, to growing cut-and-grow-again lettuce. It made me think about how I approach large meals; “shop” my fridge and freezer; plan for leftovers; and making it count when I give up and just order pizza.
The website has a big recipe section (what to do with the food that's just about to turn!) and helpful tips for getting kids involved with cooking.
What your neighbors are saying about StopFoodWaste
“I've always thought I was pretty good about not wasting food but doing the Fridge Reality Check showed me I definitely threw out more than I realized. Meal planning makes it easier to spend less and prep at more convenient times so I use more fresh items.” ~ San Leandro Mom
“The tools on StopFoodWaste.org gave us a lot to think about. I appreciated the tangible tips provided. I particularly like the info about how to use more of the leftover parts of vegetables, and how to create new meals from leftovers.” ~ Alameda Family
The issue of wasted food affects all of us in one way or another. StopFoodWaste.org aims to make this seemingly daunting environmental/social/financial issue one that we can all feel capable and excited to do something about in our own homes.
Thanks to StopFoodWaste.org for starting this important conversation about preventing and eliminating food waste and sponsoring 510families.com. StopFoodWaste is a program of StopWaste, a public agency serving Alameda County.