Do you tend to forget about your leftovers and end up throwing them out? Or maybe you're lucky and have someone in your home that you can count on to scrounge into the deepest depths of your fridge to eat them up - lucky you! As you can guess by a peak into my fridge that when I go away for a few days fresh food and leftovers won't get eaten without a little help from me. These little fridge notes have been a boon for my sanity - most of the food actually gets eaten now!
I have to tell you, at LOVE GOOD FOOD, I hate throwing food away. I don't know if it's because I was raised to "eat everything on your plate" or if it was the words "there are starving children in Africa" echoing in my head, but I cringe and feel guilt anytime I throw food away. You might be surprised to hear that an estimated 30% of our food in North America is thrown in the garbage. Seriously. Money right in the trash! The reality is that there are real challenges to produce enough food for the number of people who inhabit our planet and our global population is only increasing each year. Food should be respected and enjoyed, not carelessly discarded.
Chances are you put your heart and soul into preparing your meals, so why would you want to throw any of it away? If you find that you and your family are throwing away a lot of your hard-earned food, try some of these tips to prevent throwing away good food.
1. Try to keep your leftovers and the fresh perishable food at the front of the fridge. As soon as these items reach the back of the fridge it's hard to see them - out of sight, out of mind! So put them up front and centre where you will see them. Label them while you're at it - it helps to be reminded what's there!
2. If you have leftovers that you don't plan on gobbling up in the next two days pop it in a freezer safe container and put it in your freezer for another time. It's helpful to label these containers too with the date and what's inside.
3. If you plan on using leftovers for lunches pack them in lunch size containers so in the morning they're already packaged and ready to pop in your bag.
4. If you have fruit that are starting to get close to their prime, like bananas, strawberries, mangos, or berries, chop them up and toss them in the freezer, they're great for making smoothies.
5. If you have vegetables that are starting to become less than fresh, use them in a soup, stew, or a spaghetti sauce.
6. Chop up vegetables and have them handy for snacking on. This is one of my family's biggest challenges, when they want a snack they want it now, and if it isn't convenient they won't reach for it.
7. If you find a couple of different containers of leftovers in your fridge have a Leftover Night where you heat them all up and serve them buffet style. Everyone can choose what they want and hopefully you'll be left with only empty dishes.
8. If you only have a couple cups of leftover spaghetti sauce you can stretch it out to feed the whole family by adding a large can of crushed tomatoes while you heat it up on the stove top. Or cook up a small portion of noodles and serve spaghetti as primo like the Italians before your secondo main dish.
9. Make a point to go through your fridge regularly and poke around into the back of the shelves to see what you have hiding back there. Hopefully you can avoid throwing away food by being more aware of what's actually in your fridge.
10. Before you go shopping take a quick inventory of what you have and what you need. If you already have a big bag of lettuce there's no point buying another big bag, even if it's on sale... unless you promise to eat a salad everyday!
We hope these tips help! Bon appetit and LOVE GOOD FOOD.
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Wife, mother and pilot, with a passion for good food.