Earth Day by Daniela Lyra_Flickr

Celebrate Earth Day with these everyday tips to reduce food waste

Earth Day is a global celebration on April 22 encouraging education and stewardship of the planet’s natural resources. Whether in a backyard, neighborhood green space, or a national park, this day provides everyone a time to learn about how each one of us can make a difference for our planet.

One of the many ways we can help the Earth is by reducing food waste. About one-third of all food (133 billion pounds) in the United States is thrown out each year, according to the Department of Agriculture. The cost of wasting food adds up quickly to the tune of about $160 billion. Here are some tips to reduce food waste in your kitchen:

  1. Avoid overbuying. Take an inventory of pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before going to the store.
  2. Create a meal plan. Buy a head of broccoli and use it as a side dish one night and in a casserole the next.
  3. Freeze leftovers. If you don’t think you can eat your leftovers within three days, store them in the freezer and label them.
  4. Buy only what you need. Buy fruits and vegetables that you can eat in one week. If you run out, have some frozen fruit and vegetables on hand that you can eat before you go back to the grocery story.
  5. Compost. Backyard composting is a great way to keep food waste out of the landfill and provides nutrition for your garden. Look for small composting containers that you can keep in your home.
  6. Before tossing food, eat what is left in your fridge before getting takeout. Reward yourself by ordering your favorite takeout meal the next night.
  7. Be creative. Recipes are just guidelines. Missing an ingredient? Before running to the store, consider a substitution already in your refrigerator. Parsley for basil, mozzarella for ricotta, and carrots for sweet potatoes.

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