Lifestyle, Nutrition, Recipes

How to Cut Back on Food Waste with Tips from TOPS Members

reduce food waste by chopping vegetables into plastic containers

It always pains me a little whenever I have to toss food, either from an overzealous trip to the produce aisle or forgetting about a once-delicious leftover dish in the fridge. This morning I had to throw away an acorn squash that started to resemble a science experiment. Wasting food just seems so, well, wasteful.

According to a survey* released from the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC), one-third of food produced never reaches a human mouth. And 74% of consumers surveyed toss leftovers of foods prepared at home. I try my best to avoid acorn squash/science experiment situations, but I’m always open to new ideas for reusing leftovers and how to reduce food waste.

When we asked TOPS members on Facebook for their favorite tips, here’s a sample of what they had to share:

  • “When my veggies are getting ready to be tossed, I make a big pot of veggie soup.” – Sherri B.
  • “Finely chopped veggies are great added to pasta sauce or chili.” – Kendra M.
  • “In the summer I freeze any fruit that is getting too ripe. In the winter I get a taste of summer from my fruit smoothies, and I bake zucchini loaves and banana breads for our community bake sale.” – Lenora D.
banana chips in a bowl
  • “I use my dehydrator and dehydrate fruit that is starting to spoil. Banana chips last a long time and are an excellent snack.” – Forestburg TOPS
  • “I minimize food waste by prepping all my fruit and veggies the day of or the day after I go grocery shopping.” – Lisa P.
  • “One of my best ways is using leftover meat on a salad during the week. This week it is chicken taco meet from the crockpot.” – Suzan C.
  • “When you store fresh produce, put a paper towel in the bag/container. It helps keep moisture off the produce so it doesn’t get slimy and moldy.” – Wendy H.

Members also mentioned composting, the importance of reusable containers and even sharing leftovers with grateful backyard chickens! Do you have a go-to tip to reduce food waste and make the most of your groceries? Let’s hear it in the comments!

*A Survey of Consumer Behaviors & Perceptions of Food Waste

15 thoughts on “How to Cut Back on Food Waste with Tips from TOPS Members

  1. these are all excellent tips, and the only one I have used is the one about veggie soup. I freeze the small amounts of veggies that are left over and when I have enough I make a big pot of soup.. these are really helpful. I would never have thought of finely diced veggies in chili but what a great idea

  2. I puree ooked squash ,- acorn especially freeze – add to pancakes (reduce or eliminate liquid), fruit bread,. Saute in patties with other veg. When making soup or salad add different veg in your crisper or from freezer for interesting flavor and to bulk up a meal with more vitamin rich variety. Increases fiber also.

  3. Chopped up onions,peppers, tomato, mushroom anything you like makes great tasty and nutritious additions to omelette, scrambled eggs, fried rice, tacos; let your imagination take over. Extras can be added to your homemade or canned soup.

    1. If your compost stinks there may be things in it that shouldn’t be or it may be too wet. We keep a bucket outside the back door and I’ve noticed that when it fills up with water the compost really stinks. Meat or bones should not go in the compost as they will stink and possibly attract animals.

  4. Last summer I was told by a friend that dehydrators can usually befound at garage sales. I changed my mind about looking for one but this next spring and summer when garage sales start again I am going to look for one.

  5. Storing fruit and vegetables in preserving jars makes them stay fresh a lot longer
    Eg strawberries unwashed
    I precut all my salad ingredients and store them in preserving jars – they last a long time
    I can’t take credit though – it’s my moms trick

  6. I like to make a big batch of an entree, like chili. I try to freeze half and have the leftovers the next day.

  7. Its easy to turn leftovers into stir fries, Mexican dishes, soups & casseroles. You don’t have to use a lot of rice. Use a smaller amount or some other grain or a veggie. Ease up on the cheese please.

  8. The tip about the paper towel in the container is a super IDEA! This is the first time to my recollection of ever reading this tip! Thanks so much!

  9. Make a bunch of roasted veggies at the end of the week with all of your vegetables. Frozen bananas are great in smoothies.

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