Stop Wasting Veggies. Here Are Some Suggestions On What To Do With Extra Vegetables
One of the worst feelings is when you spend time and money grocery shopping, all to let some of your (hopefully organic) produce go to waste. Perhaps you just overdid it at the grocery store one week – you open up your fridge and have no idea what you are going to do with it all! We’ve all been there.
Not only does food waste affect you and/or your family, but it also increases your carbon footprint on mother earth. Food is a worldwide epidemic. Did you know that roughly 50 percent of all produce in the United States is thrown away—some 60 million tons (or $160 billion) worth of produce annually, an amount constituting “one third of all foodstuffs.” Wasted food is also the single biggest occupant in American landfills, the Environmental Protection Agency has found.
Some ways you can reduce waste are:
- Shop smart and realistically. When you go to the store, try not to buy as much food as you normally would. This may mean going to the grocery store more than once a week, but it will save you waste and money!
- Plan your meals out before stepping into the grocery store. If you have a list, you will be less tempted to purchase unnecessary, impulsive, or additional items.
- When you are cooking (for yourself or family/friends) don’t overserve. It is best to use smaller plates so that you don’t serve up too big of portions. Big portions lead to waste.
- When you do have leftovers, use them for lunch the next day at work! Or as one less meal you don’t have to cook that week. Eat them within 2-3 days.
- Out of sight is out of mind when it comes to storing food, so aim to not have a cluttered fridge, pantry, or freezer. When you buy new groceries, move the older ones to the front so that you eat them first. Another reason to make a list before visiting the grocery store – to avoid an over cluttered food storage situation.
- Instead of throwing away your excess food, donate it to a local food bank. This way you can give food to people in need and reduce your waste. You can even donate scraps to farms for their livestock!
- Composting is a good way to get rid of scraps in an effective way, as you can turn it into a nutrient-rich fertilizer.
The good news is that produce, and vegetables specifically, are so versatile that you can basically make any veggie into a meal!
- First and foremost, almost any combination of vegetables you have in your fridge can be used to make a stir fry. Broccoli, carrots, mushrooms, onion – add a little pepper, sesame or coconut oil and tamari sauce..simple as that! Don’t have any sauce? Lemon juice will do just fine!
- Roasted vegetables – all you need is a sprinkle of sea salt and some pepper. Chop em, heat the oven to 500 degrees, cover with tin foil, and pop in for 10 minutes to steam. 15 minute meal right at your fingertips!
- There is always the option of making a nutrient dense soup. A can of diced tomatoes, onion, vegetable or chicken stock, and any veggies on hand will suffice. Add some herbs and spices for extra flavor. This is one of the easiest ways to use extra vegetables and not let them go to waste. You could use a slow cooker for 4 hours, or simply a big pot and let simmer for 30 mins.
- Just like a stir fry, you can easily make a vegetable heavy thai curry. All you need here is a couple spoonfuls of curry paste and a can of coconut milk. You can really include any veggie into a curry. Some of my favorites are cabbage, peppers, squashes, even sweet potatoes and cauliflower.
- Pickling vegetables is another great way to preserve (and not waste!) veggies, and this is something not most people think about when it comes down to it. All you need is a glass jar with a lid, vinegar, water, and salt. You can pickle cucumbers, carrots, ginger, red onion, green beans. As for vinegars, you can really use any type – white vinegar, apple cider, white wine, and rice vinegar all work well.
- A veggie frittata, anyone? You can throw basically any extra vegetable into a skillet with eggs!
We hope that by following a few of the above steps and recipes that you can reduce your food waste and save some money along the way! Another way to help reduce your food waste is to follow a meal plan or meal delivery service that portions out your meals for you. Check out the meal plan options on our website for healthy and paleo dishes. Not to mention – our trays are recyclable!