Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

Are you 'waste wary' with food?

6/1/2023 by Kelly Hastings


Are you wary of routinely throwing away food? Being "waste wary" is important because food waste is not only harmful to our wallets, but it also harms the environment. Making small, thoughtful changes to our habits can help reduce food waste. 

Consider these tips to start reducing food waste:

Create a grocery list. Menu plan and use that plan to create your list. Not only will you buy less, but you will also save some money, too. 

Build leftovers into the menu. Whether at a restaurant or at home, this is a wonderful way to avoid throwing out extra food. You can reheat leftovers as an extra meal or even add them to another recipe to create a new meal. 

Explore ways to use your extra food items. Do you throw out the heel of your bread loaves? There are many ways they can be used. Check out some recipes online. Examples include grating them into breadcrumbs, using them to soften baked goods or brown sugar, using them as a thickener or making a bread pizza out of them.

Consider ways to use foods "past their prime." Just because a fruit or vegetable does not look "normal" does not mean that it's inedible. They will taste the same. Instead of throwing overripe fruit away, add them to smoothies. 

Incorporate a way to compost. Composting food items lost in the back of the refrigerator is another way to repurpose foods to reduce waste. Look at your city government website to find out more about composting or look into tips on how to compost at home. 

Be storage savvy. Storing food correctly can maximize freshness. Learn better ways to keep your food fresh longer through the food storage guide and FoodKeeper App

Rethink "best if used by." These phrases indicate when a food item will be at its best quality. It's not necessary to automatically throw out items that are past their date. Look for changes in smell, color and texture to decide if food is fit for the menu or the compost bin. 

It may be overwhelming to start all of these tips to limit your food waste at once. Try adding one or two into your routine to start. Think of what will work best with your daily routines, and soon you'll be making use of your food "waste."

Kelly Hastings is a dietetic intern at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She received her undergraduate degree at Gustavus Adolphus College and completed her graduate degree at the University of Michigan.