How To Stop Wasting Food

2009-0103image0031-thumbThe more aware I become of the finite resources on our planet and my consumption habits, the more angry I get at myself for wasting food.  I don’t do it intentionally.  In fact, the wasting of the food seems to always result from my efforts to eat better, backfiring.  Here’s how it works…

I decide I need to eat more fresh fruits and veggies (which I do at least every other month), then run out to the grocery store or farmers market and buy a bag of apples or oranges, a couple of bags of salad greens (they force me to buy two because that’s the only way I can get the sale price – the bastards!) and whatever other fresh vegetables seem appetizing while I’m sitting on the couch planning my amazing new eating habits.  Then, when it’s time for dinner, I never want the crap that I’ve bought.  I’d much rather just throw a veggie burger and fries in the oven.  And a few days later, I’ve got a science project growing in my fridge from all the wholesome food I bought but did not eat.

Over the past year, every time we’ve thrown away food, I’ve gone on a mini-rant about how much we suck for wasting food and money and quite frankly, I’m sick of feeling bad about it.

I don’t think any of us need to hear more lectures on wasting food (starving kids in third world countries, fuel to ship my oranges from God knows where, blah blah blah), we know the deal.

One of the goals I set for 2009 is to reduce and record the food that we throw away.  As you can see from the picture, I just slapped a piece of paper on the fridge for us to write down everything we discard.  I’m hoping that it will encourage us to eat the food that we buy/prepare before it spoils, but, even if it doesn’t, it should be an interesting exercise at the end of the year to tally just how much food we wasted and estimate the cost of it.

If you are a food waster like me, feel free to play along.  The only thing you need is a convenient place to write down what you throw away, and a moderate commitment to eat the stuff you buy (or grow for us gardeners) before it spoils.  I know my best friend has this same problem because we talked about it on the phone last night.

Me “what if I compost the bag of rotten oranges? Do I still need to write that down as wasted food?” Her “Um, yes, you should be eating the oranges and composting the peels, anyway.  OK, maybe you can have partial credit for that but you are really reaching.”

So far, it’s January 3rd and we still have nothing on the list.  But, I presently have two bananas that need to be eaten in the next 48 hours, and left over black-eyed peas, collard greens, salsa chik’n/rice and a 2 day old container of organic salad greens that is virtually untouched in the fridge.  All good stuff, but, it’s Saturday and we almost always eat only bad food (pizza, burgers, etc…) on the weekend.  Plus, my guy will not touch the black-eyed peas or collards and the bananas are already past the point where he’ll eat them (he likes them almost green which totally grosses me out).