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How to Avoid Food Waste

Aug 17, 2007
Americans waste a lot of food. It has been estimated that as much as 1.3 pounds of food per person per day goes to waste. Wasting less food is better not only for the environment but for your pocketbook.

Of course, some food waste is unavoidable, especially if you have picky eaters in your family. Sometimes you just can't get a child to eat something you thought he or she would enjoy. But many other forms of food waste can be handled better.

Start off with how you handle your grocery shopping. Think not only about how much you're buying, but how soon it will go bad. Being realistic about what you and your family will consume in a reasonable period will cut back on what you waste.

Food storage can make a big difference. Some fruits can stay out for weeks and not have a problem. Others go bad in days, even in the refrigerator. The same goes for vegetables.

Meats, of course, need refrigeration, but they can also freeze quite nicely. If you separate your meat out into the quantities you will need for cooking later, you can buy meat in bulk, and freeze only the excess.

Those sell by and use by dates can make a big difference in how much food goes bad in your home. If you're going to use it up right away, you don't have too much to worry about close expiration dates, but if you know it will take a while for you to use the entire package, watch that date closely and get the best one possible.

You should also learn to save and use your leftovers better. If you have a lot of leftovers, they may freeze well. Then again, they could be tomorrow's lunch.

You can also think about how much you eat. Eaten food isn't wasted, as such, but it can go straight to your waist when you don't want it to. Think about how much you're eating. If you realize you're eating too much, try cutting back.

Remember that much of your food waste does not need to go into the trash. Much of it can be composted instead. Citrus and onions don't go in the compost so well, especially if you use worms, but other food remnants will do quite well. Then you have great fertilizer for your yard and garden.

Wasting less food is one of the simplest things we can do for the world around us. You don't have to go to great lengths to make a difference. Best of all, it's one of the few environmentally friendly things you can do that is easier on your pocketbook and might even help you get fit.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.greensahm.com/ about being a stay at home mom trying to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Learn about green energy as well as other topics she covers on her site.
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