Stop Food Waste: Tips & Hacks for Busy Families - 510 Families

Stop Food Waste: Tips & Hacks for Busy Families

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.

tea towel: I wish I was the person I thought I could be when I bought all this produce
Who else can relate to this cheeky tea towel? | Photo: ellembee

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:

Perfect avocados
When the avocados are perfect, my kid to makes his famous guacamole | Photo: Heather Flett

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?

I was already pretty persnickety about meal planning and grocery lists, and I feel like I leveled up by reading through the resources at StopFoodWaste.org. I printed off the shopping list with meals in mind to use up the food we already have. You can see my first draft list below.

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.

Cooking with kids
Casseroles, frittatas, soups and smoothies are great ways to use leftovers and odds and ends.

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

How to shop your fridge
How to shop your fridge and freezer with the printable planner from StopFoodWaste

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. 

stop waste

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.

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