It is said that we could literally feed a small country with the amount of food 300 million of us waste in America.
Even though we are all suffering economic hardships, throwing away food, whether fresh or leftovers, is practically cultural.
We can save so much if we simply cook less, serve smaller portions, and pre-plan our meals ahead of time.
Cooking less -
"Family-style" cooking is popular. Large amounts of different dishes are cooked and each is passed around the table to share. Making these dishes smaller (no need to cook several pounds of each dish for a family of four) will lessen the need to throw so much out. When making potatoes or vegetables, do a quick count of how much each person will probably eat and stick to it. No need to add a little more 'just in case'.
Smaller potions -
Portions in restaurants are far bigger than they were twenty years ago. Some are nearly twice the size. Almost everything can be 'super-sized' at a fast food place. We have taken this trend into our homes. A single portion should really be no bigger than the size of our fists, particularly when we're talking about meat. It's ok to go a little larger on the veggies! Spending a couple of extra minutes measuring out portions will save food from being thrown out and wasted. If people want seconds, they can. But if an overloaded plate is not consumed, the leftovers usually ends up being thrown out, not saved.
Pre-planning meals and buying smaller -
As well as measuring out portions, heading to the supermarket with a list is your best bet for not throwing much out at the end of a meal. Stick to the list! Plan what you want to serve for the week and match meals. If you will be serving chicken and veggies on Monday, buy enough veggies for your fish and veggie Wednesday.
At times it seems like buying the larger portion of something is a better value and it is - only if you're sure you're going to eat it all. Spending an extra couple of dollars for a huge jar of mayonnaise doesn't really make sense unless a lot of people in your home use it a lot - and often, it ends up rotting or going bad. Only supersize your food when you have a supersize family!
Refrigerated leftovers can last several days - it won't go bad! Eating leftover on Thursday, from Monday's dinner is fine, if the food was cooked well and refrigerated soon after. Freezing leftovers is a good idea too.
We throw millions of pounds of food out in the garbage and it ends up in landfills. While wildlife can benefit from this, so can rodents, not to mention the noxious gases these huge amounts of rotting foods emit.
So spending just a few moments measuring our portions, planning menus, and writing grocery lists can ease the burden for us physically, financially and doesn't do the planet any harm either!
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