Are We Wasting Food?

Written By: Li Cross - Mar• 27•14

Leaving a little food on your plate doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but did you know that most Americans throw out between 5 and 10 pounds of food per day per family? If you don’t believe it, try taking the trash out after cooking three meals in a row. It’s pretty heavy isn’t it? To take matters further, 40% of the food grown in America is wasted or thrown out. Yes, it’s either left on our plates, or just spoiled at the market before it could be consumed. It makes me wonder why 10 million kids go hungry every day.

Food WastedThousands of Hospital and School lunches  get tossed each day without even having a bite taken. This happens every day. Multiply that by 365. Imagine buying a new dress and pair of shoes and just tossing the shoes in the trash without wearing them. That’s similar to the money we waste when we toss food in the trash. Yet we complain about the rising cost of food. I am the “Grocery buyer” in my home and recently I took my budget by the horns. I buy only what I need for a week so it will be fresh when I prepare it. I cook the products most likely to spoil the first couple of days. When I buy meat that I plan to use 3 or more days in advance, I toss it in the freezer in portions according to need. John and I will only eat 1/2 pound of meat at one meal, so I freeze it in small portions.  When I make soup, spaghetti or chili, I freeze half the same day that I make it. Then a month later all I have to do is thaw, heat and serve. Here in Texas, bread gets moldy in the warmer months. I keep it in the freezer and take out what I need for lunch. In a few minutes it thaws.

Whenever you find yourself tossing a half gallon of milk or a bag of lettuce that went bad, ask yourself “Can I buy smaller portions, or do I need to plan better next time?” I find that lettuce and spinach keep longer if you wash them and place in an air tight container with a sheet of paper towel. You can also use a zip-loc bag with a paper towel. The towel absorbs excess moisture and helps keep the lettuce fresh longer. Casseroles are often covered and stuck in the back of the fridge. They are forgotten and later become someone’s science experiment. Instead, wrap it tightly, label it, and stick it in the freezer. Then when you just don’t feel like cooking, remove the casserole and pop it in the oven.

Leftover Chicken, Pork and Beef are often wrapped and stuffed into the fridge to rot and be forgotten. I cut my leftover meat into bite-size chunks and freeze in zip-loc bags with a label. Then when you want to make tacos, soup, enchiladas, pizza or even a shepherd’s pie, all you need to do is grab a bag of meat and heat it up. For more tips and recipes for items below, drop me a line at

Chicken Enchiladas  Chicken Noodle Soup005

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