Summer is here! Never a better time to take the Stop Food Waste Challenge. That is, assess and measure how much food is going to waste in your home, then, based on the results, try out some new practices that could help you make the most of your food and throw out less.
For inspiration, here are some insights on taking the Stop Food Waste Challenge shared by the leaders of the San Leandro non-profit organization, Community Impact Lab, who also happen to be activists and mothers who don’t like wasting food:
What motivated you to take the Challenge?
Xouhoa: Every week, I’d take out my family’s compost pail and see all the food we could have saved. It’s bad for the environment and a waste of money, too.
What kind of food did you find yourself wasting most?
Christina: A lot of vegetables that wilted before my family could eat them, partially used ingredients, and leftovers that were forgotten in the back of the fridge.
Since taking the Challenge, how have your shopping habits changed?
Christina: I got serious about planning meals and making a shopping list based on those meals, rather than the other way around. I also discovered that recipes can build on each other so that a leftover from one day becomes part of the next day’s meal. It has helped me save money and time too!
Do you store food differently now?
Xouhoa: I do. When I come back from shopping, I place new foods in the back of the fridge and bring those to the front that need to be eaten first.
Christina: I now store my beans, lentils, and pasta in mason jars so I see what I have. And I use only clear or easy-to-label containers so things don’t get lost in the fridge.
Any tips you can share to use up leftovers?
Xouhoa: Leftovers like bits of meat and assorted vegetables are great ingredients for Chinese stir-fry. Instead of eating he same meal as the day before, you get a whole new dish!
Christina: I agree there are more ways to use leftovers without eating the exact same dish. I often puree extra veggies to sneak into a sauce, or I add them to a quiche or soup. Some foods also freeze well and make for a quick meal later.
*Adapted from original interview published in Edible East Bay, Spring 2019 Edition.