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What’s for dinner?

By Kayla

According to, 40% of all food in America is wasted, aka thrown in the garbage without being eaten.  Most of that waste comes from the everyday consumer.  Whether it is an item that never got cooked/eaten before its expiration date or the last bite someone just couldn’t finish, this food eventually finds its way into the trash can.   

In honor of Stop Food Waste Day, here are a few tips to help you reduce food waste in your home:

  • Practice better storage habits. Beware the moldy bread and rotten fruit. When food is stored properly it lasts longer and therefore is less likely to be thrown away. has a long list of storage tips for all the food groups.

  • Meal prep. This has been a popular term lately, specifically in regard to healthier eating, but it can also be a key way to prevent waste.  By planning meals (and portions) ahead of time, you can know exactly how much you need.  This also helps with the shopping list. If you only buy the ingredients you plan to use for the week, then you are more likely to use all of it.

  • Shop in your kitchen first. Before heading to the store, check your refrigerator and cabinets to make sure you don’t buy what you already have. Also try planning recipes around items you may need to use up. Casserole and soup recipes can be altered in all ways to accommodate the use of near expiring ingredients.

  • Save the leftovers. When too much has been made, don’t throw it away.  Store it (properly) for the next day or so.  If you aren’t a fan of reheated foods, then find new recipes where those cooked pieces can be added.  Have leftover mashed potatoes?  Turn them into Apple Cider Donuts for a true fall treat.  The same idea works for the scraps on your cutting board or even some foods past their prime.  You wouldn’t eat a brown banana, but that is the key to perfect banana bread. is another great site with tips & tools on reusing leftovers, storage tips, and helpful meal planning tools.

By utilizing these tips, you can save your family money and space in your trash can. According to the USDA on average, households could save about $370 per person annually by reducing their food waste. Imagine what a family of four could do with an extra $1,500 each year! (USDA Website: )

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Based at Lake Williamson / PO Box 620 / Carlinville, IL 62626