Food waste: My best intentions gone awry

I’m feeling very average this week. Maybe even above average, which in this case is not good. Here’s a pile of food that I let go past its prime.


Quinoa, beets, lentils, a couple hard boiled eggs, a pear and a yam. Yikes!

The average American throws out about 25% of the food that they buy. So I guess I’m just average. But I want to be below average. Did I just say that? Did my kids hear me? Let me clarify – below average when it comes to food waste and ah… television viewing. Hey, below average is sounding pretty good.

My quest is simple. I want to buy just what I need and not anything more. So to conquer my food waste problem, I’ve devised a four step plan.

Step 1: Clean out the fridge really well. (Done!)

Step 2: I need to buy less food. Less than I imagine my family needs.


Step 3: Play the brilliant refrigerator game created by Angela Barton. The concept is simple. Label a section of your fridge, “Eat Me.” Now put food that’s near its expiration in the Eat Me section. Right up front. No more saying I forgot about this or I didn’t see that. Yes – this could make a difference! Thanks Angela.

Step 4: Use my leftovers down to the last little bit. Tonight we had what I call a ‘hodge podge’ dinner – a little of this and a little of that. My kids thought it was great. They each got different leftovers, custom tailored to their quirky likes and dislikes (my mom is rolling her eyes on this one).

Yep! That should do it. Four little steps to reduce my food waste.

Thanks to Kristen – The Frugal Girl! Her Food Waste Friday blogs have motivated me to want to waste less food

What steps do you take to reduce your food waste? Please share.

According to Jonathan Bloom‘s Wasted Food blog: “Depending on which study you believe, we squander between a quarter to a half of all the food we produce. Even by the conservative estimate, that adds up to more than 100 billion pounds per year.”

Save some dough and use what you got – Skip grocery shopping for a week


6 thoughts on “Food waste: My best intentions gone awry

  1. I hate to admit that a lot of food gets wasted around my home. My girlfriend and I seem to let fruit and vegetables go to waste as it is somewhat difficult for us to buy in quantities that we would reasonably use before they begin to go bad.

    We have a lot of room for improvement, and hopefully this is something we can get under control. It may be a good idea for another one of my experiments…

    Thanks for the post!

  2. Steven-
    I used to buy a lot more fruits and vegetables than we’d actually eat, with good intentions of being healthy.

    The easiest thing to do with the fruit is to freeze it- even when it’s starting to go bad- bananas are great even black- peel them and break into chunks and freeze for smoothies. I never throw away a banana.

    And for vegetables- it happens when you’re optimistic, so don’t feel too bad. But usually you can throw stuff into a soup or a stir fry or even just scrambled with eggs.

    • That’s an awesome tip. I bought a bunch of strawberries and froze them. I never thought about freezing bananas, but I do love strawberry banana smoothies. And I have some bananas that I thought I was going to have to throw. Thanks!

  3. Great tips. I occasionally buy too much food and I feel so bad when it goes to waste. The best idea that I have heard to make sure you don’t let things go to waste is to plan your meals for the entire week and any left overs, take to lunch the next day. Also, if you are able to compost some items, it would not be so much of a waste.

  4. Great ideas! I hate wasting food, too. Planning our menus before food shopping really helps us to only buy what we need. My biggest problem is with leftovers. Mark Bitten recently had a NYTimes column about good freezer habits, and I’m going to try to freeze leftovers as soon as I decide there’s no time to eat them. Ok, you have inspired me to clean out my fridge as soon as I get home!

  5. Your blog has inspired me to work on the amount of food we waste. normally i do a store run 2x per week or so, the second trip when we run out of interesting stuff to eat in the fridge. then every two weeks or so i go thru and throw all of the old stuff out. this week i made 1 store run and we’re eating what’s in the fridge all week. i’ve done somecreative things with leftovers, and just eaten what’s there. sounds so simple. thanks for the inspiration.

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