I’ve been cleaning out our freezer this winter, trying to prevent any food waste. We have a chest freezer in addition to the small freezer above the refrigerator. It’s been a 5 month process. Yes, I’ve been working on this since January!
Bless his heart, my husband does much of grocery shopping. In our circumstances, it only makes sense because he is the one driving directly by the grocery store after work. But the problem is that he has trouble passing by a sale and very often buys more than what is on the list. “I’m a good provider!” he smiles. Such a good provider that I literally could not put another item in my cupboards and the chest freezer was filled to the top!
Add that to the fact that I package leftovers, make bone broth and keep it in the freezer, and preserve our own fruits and veggies…and we had A LOT of food!
So in January I issued a moratorium – No more buying any freezer or pantry items; only fresh fruits,veggies, coffee, bread and dairy.
We’ve been pretty good about it. The cupboards are more manageable and the chest freezer is less than half full now. Whenever we question what to make for dinner, the question is “what’s in the freezer”.
I’ve now given the okay to purchase frozen veggies 🙂
Food Waste Is A HUGE Problem
World wide, roughly one-third of food is wasted. That is about 1.3 billion tons of food! Billions with a capital B.
According to the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of The United States), the amount of food wasted comprises of:
- 20% oil seeds, meat and dairy
- 30% cereals
- 35% fish
- 40-50% root crops, fruits and vegetables
If we could prevent even just a quarter of the food lost or wasted, it would be enough to feed almost 900-million people in the world!
Easy Ways To Prevent Food Waste At Home
Use those leftovers! This is my favorite way to prevent food waste. What could be simpler than using leftovers for lunch? Or how about creating a new dinner by combining dishes from previous meals?!
Shop smart and realistically. Just because it’s a good sale, doesn’t mean you need to buy more than you can consume is a few months. (Something I’m trying to teach my husband 🙂 ) Even when going to your local farmers’ market, don’t pick up more than you are going to eat in a week or so. If it is more than you can eat, figure out how you can preserve it either by canning, freezing or dehydrating.
Preserve food. Again, if you can’t eat it, preserve it! Freeze leftovers to enjoy later. Can fruits. Pickle veggies. Dehydrate fruits and veggies. Dried veggies are perfect for tossing into a soup or stew! All are wonderful ways to decrease your food waste. And preserving your own food is a lot healthier than buying it from the store. Remember, prepackaged foods are loaded with preservatives and chemicals that you can’t even pronounce.
Donate to food banks. If you realize that you aren’t going to be able to enjoy the food you purchased, donate it so others can eat too.
As I empty our cupboards and chest freezer, I am adding to our small freezer with small packages and leftover-generated meals, but I’m not throwing as much food away as I could be. Eventually that freezer will get emptied out too. And that’s the key – finding other ways to enjoy food.
What Do You Do To Prevent Food Waste?
Do you have any recipes for leftovers that you’d like to share or are looking for? Feel free to reach out to me through the contact form on the right or on my Contact page. I’d be happy to speak with you.
And don’t forget, if you aren’t sure of what you are doing in the kitchen but want to eat healthy, you can sign up for my FREE Cooking Basics how-to-tips! You’ll get an email every week for an entire year. That’s 52 helpful kitchen tips! Everything from how to make the perfect fried egg to different ways to prepare vegetables and how to freeze those fruits & veggies you find at the market 🙂
Enjoy and Be Healthy!