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How Much Food Do We Waste?


I try to clean out and organize my refrigerator at least once a week – I find that a) it keeps it clean, and b) it helps me remember what produce I have at the back of the fruit and veggie bins. However, sometimes time just runs away with me and when I get to cleaning it out or even reaching for an apple or tomato I realize that there are some interesting shapes and oozes within that drawer.

According to a recent study by the University of Arizona, over forty percent of food grown in the USA is not eaten. It’s partly due to non-harvested crops left to rot in the fields, but mostly due to consumer wastage. The study found that the average American family threw out nearly $600 worth of food a year – money that most people can ill afford to lose.

The question is, what can we do to make sure we are not throwing money and food away?

Menu planning can help. Sit down at the start of the week or month (whichever works for you) and plan out your menus. First I would check the local flyers to see what specials there are and allow that to influence you with your menu ideas.

Start with dinners.  With each dinner, itemize the foods necessary for the preparation. Try to be smart about it too. If you are roasting chicken one night, make a chicken salad the next night out of the leftover chicken. Add to the list your usual purchases for breakfasts, snacks and lunches – and try to always keep in mind that you want to cut down on your wastage. Buy only foods and produce that are on your list.

It takes a while to get into the planning groove, but it is so worth it.

How do you ensure minimal wastage of the food that you buy?


Seattle Times