Wasted Food and You

by Katy on February 21, 2009 · 10 comments




One of the biggest changes my family has made in the past year is to get handle on food waste. I used to regularly toss rotten food, always cursing myself — vowing to eat my leftovers, yet never getting any better. But my Waste-No-Food Challenge  kept me inspired, until what had once been difficult became habit and second nature.

An good example of this is how I roasted a chicken last night, serving it with mashed potatoes, gravy and peas. Which meant that tonight was chicken soup with dumplings, (with the extra peas added in.) I didn’t write it out or give it much thought at all. Nothing fancy. I just knew that chicken soup follows a roast chicken.

There’s a small amount of leftover soup, but I know it’ll get heated up for a lunch. (Although I did toss my 13-year-old’s leftovers because he’s had the flu.)

Looking for your own inspiration? Then make sure to check out Jonathan Bloom’s wastedfood.com site. 

Have you joined The Non-Consumer Advocate’s Waste-No-Food Challenge? Tell us how your food waste has changed in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily February 21, 2009 at 8:44 am

The biggest change that has helped us minimize food waste is keeping a MUCH emptier ‘fridge. We have found that if we can see all the way to the back of the ‘fridge, we don’t lose things in there. We know what tubs of leftovers are in there and veggies don’t get lost. We try to eat ALL the fresh food before going back to the market.


Magdalena February 21, 2009 at 11:09 am

I imposed a no-food-waste regimen on this household, and it’s cut the real food cost by quite a bit. Before, if nothing appealed, everyone went out to eat. Now, with a menu posted and a grocery list made, the family eats in more. The young ones go out a bit, as expected, but they no longer have to wonder what that “stuff” is in the back of the fridge. Right now, I’m wondering what to do with an old chocolate chip cookie left from Valentine’s Day. I can’t feed it to the dogs, so regrettably, it will probably get tossed out!


Angela February 21, 2009 at 11:17 am

Love the WW2 era poster.
I’ve been trying to watch the amount of food we throw away for awhile. When I was young my family would laugh at me because the sight of wasted produce falling off of trucks would almost make me cry. There was something so sad about the food not being able to serve its purpose of ending up in someone’s stomach. Okay, I sound crazy. But really, I hate wasted food. I think the keys are to focus on it and make it a habit like you say in your post, and also to buy less. I always used to buy too much produce, because I want it to be there and be fresh. Lately we’ve only been throwing away the rest of the parsley that I buy every week for all kinds of staples, and the rest of whatever bag of lettuce is open when I buy a replacement. Luckily we love leftovers. Oh, and I started a habit of actually labeling things that are in tupperware- geek alert! So when I had some adobo sauce left from the last time I made chili, I wrote “adobo” in block letters on tape and my husband added “kookah” and “madoobo” so now it reads “kookah adobo madoobo.” Who says this stuff can’t be fun?


Kristen@The Frugal Girl February 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I had a regrettably wasteful week this week, but nothing like what it used to be! And while I might have an occasional week like this, overall, I’m producing very, very little food waste. This is huge for me, because I used to be so terrible about wasting food.


Neighbor Nancy February 21, 2009 at 4:01 pm

The littlest change that made the biggest difference in our house?

Place left-overs in glass containers with plastic lids. You won’t use what you can’t see.

We started by just covering in plastic wrap in stead of aluminum foil, but then your wasting plastic wrap.

Another option, get chickens. They’ll eat anything and fertilize the garden.


rachel February 22, 2009 at 2:05 am

I also do the same with chicken, and then boil the carcass skin and tiddly chickin bits up for chicken stock – added to casseroles soup and gravy its lovely. Ive kept small plastic drinks bottles and fill these then freeze it.
I also freeze herbs after cutting them up so just grab a teaspoon for recipes straight from the freezer. Cleaned potato peelings with no blemishes can be laid on a baking tray, sprayed with a little oil and sea salt and make a tasty crisp snack. Other peelings go into the compost bin.
and the occasional time i buy vegetables in bulk because theyre cheaper, I cut up and freeze bags of them ready to toss straight into a stew – bags of different kinds – bags of mixed peppers, garlic and onions. bags of celery, leeks and broccoli and so on.


Wendy February 22, 2009 at 6:53 am

Have you joined The Non-Consumer Advocate’s Waste-No-Food Challenge? Tell us how your food waste has changed in the comments section below.

Yes! Not only do we shop our “pantry”, we shop our fridge & freezer for meal ideas. What would have seemed like a reason to get take-out now is the basis for a recipe. We have found that just a little planning goes a long way for reducing trips to the supermarket.


Kassie February 22, 2009 at 7:10 am

Last week in the midst of yet another snow storm a semi truck crashed, full of frozen hamburger patties, as they cleaned them off the freeway I had to wonder what they were going to do with them-I still dont know but HOPE they did not just throw them out??
I have a once-a-week leftover buffet, with a family of 6 it takes care of a large chunk of anything that would otherwise get thrown out.


Magdalena February 22, 2009 at 11:13 am

I love the vintage posters – I’d like to get some repros to post at church, sell at the market, etc.! I have to admit – I’ve scavenged food from the roadside. Potatoes fallen off the truck, mostly. When I was young, the frozen food truck broke down near our house. They gave us a freezer full of food! Doesn’t happen often…


Mandy February 22, 2009 at 8:36 pm

I am wondering if we can look at food waste in other ways as well. To me it’s not just a matter of what I throw away, but it’s almost how much I “throw away” into my body when I am not hungry. I know we mostly are talking about food waste at home, but I see people stuff themselves silly just the same as they do in a restaurant.

Am I crazy for seeing this as waste? Nothing is wrong with a second helping every now and then. But it always disturbs me how much people seem to just shovel in (myself included) despite the hunger signal being turned off.


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