Almost everyone has been in this situation before: you buy too much of that great-looking produce you saw at the farmers market or grocery store. It sits in your kitchen. You're too busy to actually do anything with it. And by the time you get around to finding out how the heck to cook it, it's spoiled. So into the trash it goes. And you've made your own little contribution to the world's mounting heap of food waste.
With hunger rates creeping upward across America, and thousands of poor families unsure of where their next meal will come from, how do the more fortunate among us cut down on our wasteful food habits?
The readers of Slate.com have their own ideas. Some require planning, others a bit more ingeniuity, and still others just call for some simple habit changes. But they're all worth a look.
Among TakePart's favorite suggestions for cutting down on food waste:
- Wash and prep your fruits and veggies right away. We're all busy. And taking the extra time to rinse and prep food may not always be on the agenda when we're racing around for something to eat. Rinsing and prepping produce while you're unloading the groceries can remove that mental block and make it easier to eat your delicious fresh foods before they spoil.
- Cook one cuisine. Sure, it's fun to try your hand at exotic dishes. But cooking a bunch of meals from disparate parts of the globe means your fridge is gonna get jammed with leftovers and odds and ends that don't necesarily go together. Meaning they'll likely spoil before you have a chance to use them again. Slate readers suggest going with themed weeks instead: Chinese this week, Indian the next.
- Buy food with cash. People tend to overbuy when it's a piece of plastic doing the buying at the checkout counter, rather than their hard-earned cash. Physically parting with paper money is more likely to induce careful shopping choices than a debit card swipe.
There are seven more suggestions over at the Slate.com website. Check 'em out and see how you can do your part to reduce food waste.
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