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Are you throwing your money in the garbage?

 

I can recall a time when my dad would pull rotten apples out of the crisper, and with his stern Portuguese accent remind us of how hard he worked to put food on the table, and how disappointed he was every time he had to throw spoiled food in the garbage.

 

This memory has stuck with me, and every time I have to throw something away I feel the guilty reminder that I am literally throwing my money in the garbage.

 

Now that I am older, I see it is not only about money, but the social and environmental impacts of food waste have taken its toll. How unfair is it when we have children and animals in our own city that are hungry, meanwhile we are literally throwing food in the trash.

 

Here are a few tips that will keep the waste away:

 

Eat your leftovers

  • Get creative, leftover spaghetti sauce one night can be turned into chili the next. A big batch of quinoa is delicious on salads, in soups or baked into granola bars.

Plan your meals, plan your groceries

  • When you plan out your meals, you know exactly how much of each food you need and you’re less likely to waste. There is the added benefit of not eating as much processed or unhealthy food by default because you are already prepared.

Store ingredients correctly

  • Herbs and lettuces are especially sensitive vegetables. Fruits will spoil quicker when stored in open air near other fruit as well.

Inevitable leftovers

  • We all have those darn leftovers that we think there is no possible way we to get rid of this. Use vegetable scraps to make flavorful broths, leftover beans from chili night to make a bean salad, or veggies on their way out can be blended into soups or sautéed with eggs for a yummy omelette. Herbs are my biggest struggle; I keep them useful by blending them up in salad dressings.

Take inventory before you shop

  • Sometimes we go out and buy ingredients we already have without even realizing until it is too late. We end up with a fridge filled with 2 of everything and not enough mouths to feed.

Substitute Ingredients

  • If you know you have some asparagus in the fridge that is on it’s way out, instead of going out and buying cauliflower to make cream of cauliflower soup, use the asparagus, or use a bit of both. Which ever leaves you with the least amount of waste.

Bring unprepared, unused food to the soup kitchen

  • They accept packaged, unopened goods
  • If you know you have purchased too many fruits or vegetables, take them to donation centers before they go bad

Freeze ingredients

  • You can always freeze ingredients. Fruits, vegetables, canned goods and pastas. They all freeze  well and make for super easy meal prep when you’re in a pinch!

 

There you have it, some easy ways to reduce, reuse and recycle food!

 

Have some more suggestions? Leave a comment!