NDSU Extension - Ramsey County


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Steps to Reduce Food Waste

“Nourishing News with Sara”


“Food Waste” 

By, Sara Laite, MPH, RD, LRD
Extension Agent

Who else grew up looking forward to leftover night? I especially loved leftover soups and hotdishes, which always tasted even better the second time around! Unfortunately, my family isn’t too keen on the whole leftover idea, making it a bit of a challenge to move food out of the fridge.

I can’t help but cringe when we have to throw out food we have forgotten about, hiding in the back of the fridge, or has gone past its expiration date.

Food waste is a major concern. It can really be a challenge to our natural resources, environment, and pocketbooks. Between 30-40% of food in the US goes uneaten – that’s as much as 20# of food per person per month! To top it off, Americans throw out around $165 billion in food every year. Shocking!

The national food waste reduction goal is to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030. Let’s all play a role in reducing food waste.

Check out these helpful tips from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

  • Preplan and write your shopping list before going to the grocery store. Think about what meals you will be preparing the next week, and check your fridge and pantry for items you already have.
  • Buy only what you need and stick to your list!
  • When eating out, ask for smaller portions, or take home leftovers.
  • Check your fridge often and keep track of what you have and what needs to be eaten soon.  Be creative with those leftovers!
  • Follow the 2-hour rule. Don’t leave perishables out at room temp for more than two hours. Refrigerate those leftovers.
  • Try composting! It took us years to finally take the leap. Once we started, we couldn’t believe how easy and fun it is! We should have started years ago. The NDSU Extension Publication, “How to Compost” (FN 1903) is a great guide to get you started.

 Do you have way too much bread than you can use before it gets stale or moldy? Don’t throw it out! Check out this easy crouton recipe as well as others in the publication, “Pinchin’ Pennies in the Kitchen: 4 Ways to Use Day-old Bread” (FN1743).

Homemade Croutons

6 slices day-old bread, cubed

¼ c. olive oil, canola oil or melted butter

1 ½ tsp. garlic powder

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dried parsley flakes

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix melted butter, garlic powder, salt and parsley flakes until garlic powder is dissolved and mixture is clump-free. Toss butter mixture with cubed bread in a medium bowl until cubes are evenly coated. Spread coated bread cubes on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are dry, crispy and golden brown. Store in air-tight container or zip-top bag. Makes 24 servings. Each 2-Tbsp. serving has 40 calories, 2.5g fat, 1g protein, 4g protein, 4g carbohydrate, 1g fiber and 45mg sodium.

 For more information, contact the Ramsey County Extension Office at 701-662-7027. Website: https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/ramseycountyextension. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NDSUExtRamsey/.

 Source: U.S Food & Drug Administration. FDA Fact Sheet. What You Can Do: Tips to Reduce Food Waste. 2019.


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