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Ways to prevent food waste

Updated on December 20, 2010

I remember hearing my mom over and over again saying "Don't waste your food because children in other parts of the world are starving". Of course I said the same words to my own children and just like me, they listened and didn't listen at the same time. Needless to say, now more then ever in this trying economy we all need to keep waste at a bare minimum. According to a recent study by an American University, the number is as high as 15% of food that is wasted by the average household. Perhaps some things get lost in refrigerators no matter what you do, but I have some suggestions that can help decrease the waste.

Make your own broth

Instead of buying sometimes costly canned meat and vegetable broths, try instead making your own by using cheap beef soup bones or the leftover stock from boiling chicken perhaps to be used to make chicken salad. Vegetable trimmings left over can be used to make a veggie broth. Stock can be put in glass canning jars two inches from the top to allow for expansion of fluid and froze for several months.


Use leftovers within your own family to make yummy omelets, wraps or even soups. Always use caution in refrigrerating leftovers no matter how they'll be used.

Freeze extra bread

Whether you have just gotten a great deal on bread and bought ump-teen loaves, or the french bread got stale; freeze it. I've made some great french toast, bread pudding and even my own bread crumbs this way. Can you see the dollars just flowing into your bank acoount?

Make smoothies with overripe fruit and Vegetables

Just about any type of fruit and vegetables can be made into tasty smoothies without any specific recipe and they are very healthy. Bananas can look very un-appetizing when they turn brown and mushy but in a smoothie with strawberries ,peaches or berries they are great .

Eating out and the Carry Home (The Doggy Bag)

When you and your family do go out to eat at restaurants, don't be ashame to bring your own containers from home for the leftovers, or just ask for their carry-out cartons. Often meals are so large that they can be for lunch or dinner the next day. Also many restaurants will be more than happy to split an entree into two plates, so you can save money while your out also

Clean the Frig

Don't wait for the next biology experiment to develop in your refrigerator. Clean it out once a week. Unless you do a thorough check of the frig, it's easy to forget about those cucumbers or that good deal on broccoli  you got two weeks ago. It can get nasty folks.

Give the cook a break

It's usually mom or sometimes dad, but whoever the cook of the house is, they need a break,. My suggestion is maybe once a week have the family do some foraging inside the refrigerator. Many good meals are found that way. Bon Appetit !!


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    • Danette Watt profile image

      Danette Watt 

      7 years ago from Illinois

      Liked this hub and voted it up and useful. With just 2 at home now, I have had to readjust my cooking amounts. Fortunately, both my husband and I grew up eating leftovers, unlike my kids who for some reason will not. I also gladly bring home 1/2 my dinner if we eat out, in fact sometimes I will purposely eat just part of it so I can have lunch the next day!

    • laringo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Hi my friend earnestshub.... thank yo so much. I think eating and cooking food is an art and try to treat it as such. Thanks for dropping by.

    • earnestshub profile image


      9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I could live off the information on your food hubs laringo! This is another great hub. You sure can do it well with the food thing! Thumbs up from me.

    • laringo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Hi Dottie1, I love french toast made at home...yum yum and here is my bread pudding recipe from my Hub. It's yum delicious.

    • Dottie1 profile image


      9 years ago from MA, USA

      Hi Laringo, these are great ideas and I especially love the idea of making french toast and bread pudding; Bread Pudding, yummmmm!

    • laringo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      G-Ma and Bk, I know you both are already there and know the value of using as much as we can and not wasting if at all possible. I know now more then ever people or becoming more aware of costs and ways to save and not waste as it should be.

    • laringo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      My friend the Pest (lol)...what a kind heart feeding the stray animals. There is always a way to not waste food. Thanks for stopping by.

    • laringo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Rochelle, I've done the same with carrots and celery that have lost sone crispness but are just fine for soups or a vegi smoothie. Yoy've got the right ideas.

    • BkCreative profile image


      9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Ah, and we all remember the old saying 'waste not, want not' - so true. I save a fortune by cooking simple and using all leftovers - saves me money and the time spent food shopping - and I'm healthier for it.

      Thanks for this reminder (and just cleaned the fridge, too)

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 

      9 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Great job and suggestions...I agree with you and Pest. I even throw stale bread in pieces out for the birds or rice too...Make extra and freeze it for that day I am too lazy to cook...Thanks G-Ma :O) Hugs

    • Pest profile image


      9 years ago from A Couch, Lake Odessa, MI

      I dont waste a thing. If I cant eat it then the stray cats get it or the squirrels and birds do. I had a bunch of tomatoes left over...simply put them in a freezer bag whole, froze them to be used in salsa.

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      9 years ago from California Gold Country

      I am a big believer in "clean out the frig" soup. Thri out the carrots, celery, and other veggies-- Good goes in the soup pot, if there are some questionable parts they go into compost for the vegetable garden.

      Good suggestions.

    • laringo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      IslandVoice, thanks for stopping by an giving such positive feedback.

    • laringo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from From Berkeley, California.

      Hey Cathy, isn't it true? I admit to having a culture growing in my frig in the past. No more though. Things can get pretty nasty even in 37 degrees F

    • IslandVoice profile image

      Sylvia Van Velzer 

      9 years ago from Hawaii

      Very timely and practical. We will see this ideas put to use more with the ongoing recession. Great job!

    • Cathy profile image


      9 years ago from Oregon, USA

      Biology experiment!! That's funny! I keep old bananas in the frig. for bread. They get to looking pretty creepy after a few weeks and my guests gag when they see the blackened fruit, but oh the sweetness and fermentation for bread is unmatchable. These are all great ideas laringo, and I'm relieved to see another who believes in 'waste not, want not'.


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