It’s Easy to be Eco-Chic! – Eat your leftovers!

I made a purposeful choice today to make my meals eco-chic –

Just by eating my leftovers!

Americans throw away one pound of food every day! That means that we throw away 27% of all consumable food. 27%. Almost a third of all the food that we can eat!

One Country’s Table Scraps, Another Country’s Meal – NY Times

WHAT? These numbers are astounding. My mouth literally dropped open. And then I took another bite of my dinner. I’m absolutely guilty of wasting food, even though I have been making an effort over the past 6 months or so to reduce my waste. There is even a compost bin at my other house…but that’s a whole different story.

And, according to this article from the New York Times, people really are starving in China who would love your leftovers. Well, actually hungry people are in your own NEIGHBORHOOD that would love your leftovers.

On a large scale, there are many organizations popping up that collect food from restaurants and grocery stores to cook and serve for the hungry people in our communities. Again, the article references that restaurants and grocery stores are not throwing away broken bottles of spaghetti sauce and crushed pasta, but whole pans of lasagna. I recently caught a TV show with the Silver Fox himself, Eric Ripert, that showed a similar organization that picked whole salmon, fresh organic chicken, etc in New York City. And this food was going to be trashed!

I ADORE Eric Ripert. He’s my secret Top Chef crush – So smoochy!

So that’s what brings us to what we can do on a SMALL scale aka our suburbian scale. The real difference that we can make. Isn’t that what we are all about here at Eco-Chic in Suburbia?

Just eat your leftovers! Not in a stuff yourself until you are uncomfortably full and need a nap full…That goes against everything my Masters of Public Health loves! But eat them the next day or the day after that! Or next month! I know it’s tiring to eat the same thing day after day (even though my aunt can eat the same thing for an entire week!) but you have a few possible solutions…

  • Make less. Did you really need to cook that entire pan of lasagna for two people?? Yes, I did this. And, while our dog ate half of the lasagna on a whim so it’s a bad example, it probably would have gone to waste had he not so graciously helped out. What was I thinking? Why didn’t I just make a half pan of lasagna?? Fail.
  • Freeze it instead of letting it go bad. There are quite a few blog posts out there about freezing individual portions of meals to make your own “TV dinners.” This was a huge topic on the blogs a year or two ago but has died down (as far as I know). We also freeze spaghetti sauce, cinnamon rolls, bread and bagels, etc. People freeze table scraps (veggie cores & peels, chicken bones, etc to make broth and bread heels to make bread crumbs) too!
    • Side note – Bread and bagels are actually super easy to pop apart and toast up after being frozen. I had frozen cinnamon toast for breakfast that I bought like a month ago. Same thing goes for basically everything!
  • Make it in to something else. I used the Pioneer Woman’s recipe to make meatloaf 2 months ago. Sadly, the bacon was not completely necessary if you venture down this delicious road…and if you do, make the mashed potatoes too! (Are you starting to recognize my little obsession with PW?) And let’s just say that I did not follow the first guideline I listed – Make less. PW cooks for at least 6. I cook for 2, sometimes 3 + some random animals at the very most. There was meat loaf all over the place. So I split it up and froze a loaf of meat. Paul has watched a lot of Sopranos lately (which I hate but bear with me, I have a point) and was inspired to make some homemade red sauce, bread, pasta, etc. Instead of buying new meat for the sauce, he thawed out the deliciously seasoned meatloaf and mixed it in! SO GOOD. So we still had an entire crock pot of sauce after eating Italiano for days straight. We froze the rest of the sauce and that’s what I had for dinner! I so did not mean for this bullet point to turn in to its own blog post but, um yeah, it was that good.
  • Just eat it. Was I totally in the mood for a toasted turkey and cheese sandwich for lunch today? No. But did I eat it anyways because it made more sense than throwing away the meat and cheese that would go bad any day now. Oh, and the bread was toasted because it was frozen! You might not have a taste for that random banana or bagel but there really is a starving person in Africa or down the street that would love it.

As I’ve typed, I realized that everything I ate today was frozen from another meal or about one day away from being thrown out. I love it when my day inspires my blog post! I will be posting about eco-chic ways to store your food soon too..

Last thing, there are definitely guidelines on how long items should be frozen safely, what should and should not be frozen, etc. Check out these guidelines from the USDA on food safety.

What do you do save food? Any fun tips or recipes that you’ve come up with to save time, food, and money??

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2 Responses to It’s Easy to be Eco-Chic! – Eat your leftovers!

  1. marybethf says:

    Ah! Leftovers! We are doing our part at this house. Just yesterday we sat down to lunch and my first son said “Mommy, it’s leftover day!” He recognized parts of his dinner from last night. And today my soup was leftover from yesterday’s lunch with rice added from dinner two nights ago. I think the “Just eat it” suggestion is one that strikes home with me. I need to stop worrying about variety in any given day, week, month. If it was a good healthy meal the first time it is the second and third times, too!

  2. I’m so glad to hear this post resonated with you! The “just eat it” part is the hardest for me but something I just try to do…And way to start the habit early in your son’s life!

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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