Fast Facts: 10 Simple Ways to Enjoy More Taste with Less Waste

Americans throw away 165 billion pounds of food each year. That’s about 20 pounds of food, per person, per month. Food is the number one thing in America’s landfill and has a big impact on sustainability. The good news is we all can do something to address this important issue. Try these 10 simple tips to enjoy more taste with less waste.

  1. Shop Smart. Always shop your refrigerator before grocery shopping, plan menus based on what you already have, make a shopping list of what you need, avoid impulse buys, and don’t buy too much.
  2. Portion Control. The larger the plate, the more likely we are to fill it. Use smaller serving plates and watch portion sizes. We have a tendency to eat with our eyes instead of eating with our stomachs.
  3. Planned Overs. If you know there are going to be extras at one meal, think about what they can be used for at subsequent meals. Friday night’s rice and beans make the perfect base for Saturday morning’s breakfast bowl.
  4. Date & Label. There’s nothing worse than finding a container of old, forgotten leftovers. Date and label everything that goes in the refrigerator & freezer.
  5. Repurpose Past-Prime Foods. Just because a food is past its peak doesn’t mean it can’t still be delicious. Crusty bread makes great French toast or croutons. Vegetables past their prime are good for soup. Wilting spinach is perfect in eggs. And macerated slightly overripe berries (a little balsamic vinegar and sugar) is absolutely delicious on ice cream or yogurt.
  6. Love Your Leftovers. Don’t be a leftover snob – save and actually eat them! Also, get creative with your leftovers. It doesn’t have to be the same meal twice.
  7. Stay Organized. Avoid clutter in your refrigerator, freezer & pantry. Keep things organized, labeled and remember FIFO – First In, First Out.
  8. Understand Food Dates. Treat “Use By” and “Best By” dates as suggestions rather than hard lines. These are voluntary terms used by food manufacturers to indicate quality, not the shelf life of a product. Learn more about food dates with handy phone apps like Food Keeper.
  9. Store Foods Properly. The shelf life of food is significantly increased with proper storage. Check out these guidelines from Save the Food for how to optimally store almost any food.
  10. Freeze It. If you have foods you can’t eat before they go bad, freeze it. Freezing significantly increases the life of food, and almost all foods can be frozen. Check out the National Center for Home Food Preservation for proper food freezing guidelines.

For more information on food waste and additional tips, visit