Monitor what you throw away. Tossing half a loaf of bread each week? Maybe it’s time to start freezing half that loaf the moment that you bring it home from the store so that it doesn’t go stale before you’re able to eat it.
Eat leftovers! Brown-bag them for work or school for a free packed lunch. If you don’t want to eat leftovers, the day after they’re cooked, freeze and eat later.
Use it all. Whenever possible, use every piece of whatever food with which you’re cooking. For example, leave the skin on cucumbers and potatoes, sauté broccoli stems along with the florets (they taste good, too – we promise!).
Repurpose leftovers scraps. Use vegetable and meat scraps in homemade stocks, and use citrus fruit rinds and zest to add flavor to other meals.
Donate what you won’t use. Never going to eat that can of beans? Donate it to a food pantry or kitchen before it expires (most such organizations will accept these items for up to one year after the expiration date) so it can be consumed by someone who needs it. Check out this resource to locate a food pantry in South Jersey.
Understand expiration dates. It turns out those expiration dates don’t always have to do with food safety; rather, they’re usually manufacturers’ suggestions for peak quality. If stored properly, most perishable foods (even meat) stay fresh for several days past the “use-by” date. If a food looks, smells and tastes okay, it should be fine. If any of these elements are off, then it’s time to toss it.
Check in with your belly. Start with smaller portions and wait a few minutes to determine if you really are still hungry. You can always go back for more.
Eating out? Take home leftovers (bonus eco points if you bring your own reusable container!) and you’ve got yourself a free lunch for the next day.
Share. Made a quadruple recipe of a casserole that you ended up disliking? Gift it to friends, family, or neighbors — they’re likely to be grateful for the saved money and time.