If you make a lot of your meals at home, you’re bound to find yourself with leftovers. Whether you made a recipe for four and there are only two of you, or you didn’t get a chance to use up all your groceries, you’ll likely end up with some leftover produce or a meal or two in your fridge.
I don’t know about you, but it pains me to toss these leftovers into the trash, not just because it’s a waste of money, but because I think about all of the mouths that food could have fed.
If you’re like me and don’t like to throw away food, consider these eight tips to reduce your food waste.
1. Buy Only What You Need
Before grocery shopping, plan out a list of meals you plan to cook, and see if you can share ingredients. This can help you avoid impulse buys and ensures that you utilize everything you purchase.
2. Move Older Stuff To The Front Of Your Fridge
When we open our refrigerators to decide what to eat, we’re more likely to reach for whatever we see right in front of us. Keep your older produce in the front of the fridge so you use it first. This also will help you keep track of what you have before you make or buy something else.
3. Bring Them To Work
Pack up your food in some tupperware, brown bag it and bring it to work for a cost-effective lunch that doesn’t require you to wake up early to prep before work.
4. Freeze Food
If you really have had enough of last night’s dinner, freeze it. Next time you’re on the go or don’t feel like cooking, you can just reach into your freezer and reheat — sounds like a win-win to me.
5. Make A Soup
You can throw almost anything into a soup, whether it’s your leftover vegetables, grains, meat, or even a Parmesan rind. Keep some vegetable stock or chicken stock on hand, and whip up a soup with your leftovers to switch things up.
6. Make Pickles
Have some leftover veggies? Stick them in a jar and pickle them. Anything from cucumbers, carrots, onions, and beets can be pickled, which greatly extends their shelf-life. Plus, then you’ll have a tasty addition to salads or a quick afternoon snack.
7. Make Preserves
Same goes with leftover fruits. Even if they are overly ripe, turn them into preserves, jelly, or jam, and your fruit will last much longer.
8. Donate Your Food
If you really are over your leftovers, instead of tossing them, donate them. Many farms accept food donations to feed the farm animals or to use as compost. If you have canned or boxed food that you don’t want, bring them to a food bank.
Photo by bobjudge
Photo by NCinDC