March 12, 2010

Food Waste Friday plus a Freebie

It's Friday, and we've got no food waste this week! So if you came here looking for a photograph of rotting food, check out The Frugal Girl, where other bloggers join Kristen in keeping track of their waste, and you're sure to find a photo or two.

Why are we all taking these silly photos? Why do we care about wasting food? Because cutting down on it is good for the planet AND your wallet. Check out Wasted Food or Love Food, Hate Waste if you want to learn more about how waste negatively impacts the environment.

While we're far from Zero Waste every week, we're tossing MUCH less than we used to, and these are the best tips I've learned over the past year:

1. Buy less than you think you need. This is the category where our best intentions end up as food waste. Don't randomly buy tons of "healthy stuff" without a plan for how you'll prepare it and when you'll eat it. Also, remember that while you might have the best intentions about cooking from scratch every night, there will be nights when you're too tired to cook, or you're invited to dinner at a friend's house, or you go out for a special occasion. What works for me is to plan only three meals a week and then have pantry and frozen food for a pinch. I'll cook at least one meal that will have leftovers, like chili or a crockpot meal, my husband makes pizza or pasta one night, and we nearly always go out once a week, even if it's just for tacos.

2. Have a plan. This is closely related to #1. Some people have a strict plan for every meal, I have a very loose plan, but without any plan you'll be too tired to come up with meals.

3. Keep an eye on the pantry and freezer and refrigerator leftovers. If you forget about them, they're sure to get wasted.

4. And along those lines, think of creative ways to use what you have. For example, last night we ate a version of Guadalajaran Swiss Chard Quesadillas, substituting some collard greens that were just starting to turn yellow. This recipe works with just about any greens, and is one of the only ways my husband likes kale, chard, and collard greens. I can eat greens cooked just about any way, but with our CSA delivery, I've had to come up with different ways to cook them they'll he'll go for.

5. Label your leftovers. This was the very first thing I did to cut back on our waste, and it helped immensely. Click here to read that post.

6. And finally, create an Eat Me section of the refrigerator. We're still doing this, and often the only waste we have has been left outside the section. My husband is a great partner in the Waste-No-Food challenge, because he's very trainable, will eat odds and ends in burritos and other concoctions he puts together, and doesn't mind eating leftovers several times if necessary. These aren't the reasons I'm in love with him, but it does make my life easier.

I hope some of those suggestions will work for you! And please let us know about what works for your family in the Comments section.

FREE STUFF ALERT: I've got a great freebie this week! Audio File magazine is offering a free digital download of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, read by Michael York. Click here to take advantage of this marvelous offer, good until March 16th. That sounds like fun now that the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp movie has gotten us in the "Alice" mood. Have you seen it yet? What did you think?


Wanda said...

I saw Alice in wonderland. It was okay as far as a story goes. The special effects,costumes,sets were amazing. Otherwise I wasn't overly impressed and wasted money on a 3d movie that would have been just as good in 2D.

Anonymous said...

I like the ideal of an Eat me side of the fridge-great ideal!

Anonymous said...

Great tips! Thanks! :)

Alice in Wonderland was awesome!! My oldest daughter & I went the other night in 3D, was soooo good! I can't wait to see it on DVD too! lol! Tim Burton is a genius in my books!

Unknown said...

hey, thanks for the tip on the download. i saw the movie last weekend. i didn't love everything about the storyline, but i loved the set and costumes and johnny depp as the hatter. :-) it was definitely worth seeing in the theater for all those things.