Buying too much food is an issue that most people deal with. Sometimes you overestimate how much your guests will eat, you want to try something new and you end up not liking it, or you forget about it and it goes bad. Food waste is very bad for the environment because fossil fuels are needed to transport the food to where it sells. If food travels across the country and a majority of the people eat a little and throw it out, unnecessary pollution is added into the atmosphere. Other important resources such as water is wasted on growing the food that is wasted as well. When I have extra food that I know I’m not going to be able to eat I feel extremely guilty about throwing it away. This week I’ve been asking my friends, family, and customers what they do with their excess food and how they prevent it. Below I’ve compiled a list of my favorite ways to not waste!
Make Soup – If you keep overbuying meats and veggies you can easily cook them and make them into a soup! If you frequently have an issue with excess food maybe you can have an end of the week soup each week. Soups can often be frozen to eat at a later time when perhaps you don’t have enough food at home or need a fast meal.
Compost – If you or anyone you know has a garden this could be a great way to reduce food waste. You can compost things such as fruit peels, coffee grounds, bread, and much more. Maybe you can even grow food of your own!
Meal Plan – When you go food shopping, try to have an idea about what you’re going to have each day of the upcoming week. If you can, try to sort out the portions before too. Having an idea of exactly how much you need will prevent food waste and save you money. It can also help to purchase a smaller amount of food, more frequently. If your schedule often changes, try meal planning for the next three days and purchase only what you need in that time.
Donate – On Thursdays the SAMM Van partners with Gather, Portsmouth’s food pantry. The leftover produce is given to Gather for families to take. If you have food that you know you’re not going to use, you can donate to Gather or any of your local food pantries. Most places have a list of items in demand and what they usually accept.
- Preserve– Similar to making soup, try to find ways to extend the life of food at home. Can you dry it, freeze it or can it? You can freeze veggie scraps and extras to make a stock later. Herbs going bad? Try drying them for your own herb mixes! Not going to get to the pork chops you purchased for dinner? Freeze them for a future meal!
- Shop at Home- Every now and then, shop at home! Check the freezers and pantry for items you may have forgotten about and create meal plans around what you already have rather than buying more.
I recently started working long hours and usually eat at work, so I’m beginning to see the amount of excess food increase in my cupboards and fridge. I haven’t been eating some of the food I thought I would when I originally bought it, and some may go bad before I plan out something to do with it. This week I’m doing my part in preventing food waste by donating to the Waysmeet Center in Durham, NH. I’ve attached a picture of the foods that I’m giving away. Moving forward I’m definitely going to use some of the suggestions I received, especially meal planning!