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Reduce Food Waste—Let Your Fridge Go Bare

By Fredrica Syren:

 I used to love having my fridge and pantry fully stocked because it gave me so many options for cooking and we would eat well  or at least that’s what I thought. The truth is that there were days when I looked in the fridge and found nothing to eat, so instead we would go out to eat or I would even make another trip to the grocery store to buy missing ingredients for that perfect meal. At the end of the week, I would clean the fridge of lots of food past its prime, and it all would end up in the trashcan. I’m sure a few of you recognize this scenario as well. Looking back at it, I’m horrified about all the food wasted and all the money I spent on it each week.

 A few years ago when our family expanded to five people, I really started to look at our food situation and searched for a way to waste less food and spend less money on it. The solution was to let my fridge go bare. I know this sounds drastic and, well, not very doable with a hungry family of 5.  

 fridgeOf course I’m not suggesting to stop buying food or to let your fridge go completelyempty, but I am suggesting that one way to stop wasting food at home is to buy food onlywhen needed and try to eat first what is already available. So, the idea is to look at the ingredients you have at home and create a dish rather than look for a recipe and then buy whatever ingredients are missing from your fridge. Does that make sense? The bonus of this way of reducing food waste is that I save lots of money and eat healthier. 

 One great way to reduce food waste at home is to stock up on staple foods like rice, dried beans, quinoa and pasta. This way, it’s easier to stretch any perishable foods by makingthem into a hearty meal like a stew, soup or pasta sauce. 

 Another way to reduce food ending up in a landfill is to start composting. Here on green-mom.com, I have covered all kinds of composting, from bokashi composting, curbside composting and composting in an apartment to traditional composting. Composting is a great way to reduce waste and turn any food scraps into beautiful fertilizer. 

 20101120_cookbook_246Here are some sad facts about food waste:

• Almost one-third of all food produced worldwide each year is wasted.
• Organic waste is the second highest component of U.S. landfills, which are the largest sources of methane emissions.
• Food waste costs the U.S. $1 trillion a year.
• Food waste has increased by 50 percent since the 1970s, while the population has increased by only 13 percent since the 1970s.
• Food waste today is the largest solid waste contributor to landfills.
• Food waste in landfills creates methane — a gas with 25 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
• Food waste is responsible for severe damage to natural resources  climate, water, land and biodiversity.

 A few ways you can reduce food waste is by doing the following:

• Before throwing away or composting food, try simmering vegetable tops and peels to make a soup broth. 
• When eating out, take your own doggie bag container or request a discount by ordering a smaller portion.
• Grocery shop wisely! 
• Embrace leftovers! 
• Keep the environment in mind when eating out! Compost!

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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