Americans throw away nearly 80 billion (!) pounds of food a year. Yet less than half of the population is aware that food waste is such an enormous issue, according to a survey by Brian Roe, professor of agricultural marketing and policy at The Ohio State University and faculty lead for the university’s Food Waste Collaborative. Roe offers the following tips, borrowed from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Food: Too Good to Waste guide.

Shop Smart

  • Think about how many meals you’ll eat at home this week and how long before your next shopping trip.
  • Next to fresh items on the list, note the quantity you need or number of meals you’re buying for.
  • Shop your kitchen fridge and cupboards first, and note items you already have.

Start planning now. Review our recipes database for great meal ideas. You can even shop online in just one click! 

 Smart Prep

  • When you get home from the store, take the time to wash, dry, chop, dice, slice and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking.
  • Befriend your freezer, and visit it often. Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.
  • Cut your time in the kitchen by preparing and freezing meals ahead of time.
  • Prepare and cook perishable items; then freeze them for use throughout the month. For example, bake and freeze chicken breasts, or fry and freeze taco meat.

Ditch the Plastic Sandwich Baggies for an Eco-Friendly Lunchbox

Intelligent Design: Beautifully designed in a sleek bamboo case, the Prepd Pack has three BPA-free, dishwasher- and microwave-safe containers, along with a three-piece cutlery set, so you’re always ready to eat. Download the free Prepd app for a library of recipes tailored to fit a range of diets, appetites and health goals—and the lunchbox’s modular containers. $69, getprepd.com.

 

Multipurpose Packing: The Tri Bento three-tiered lunchbox from ECOlunchbox has three containers—two 12-ounce, one 14-ounce—to store your “courses.” Made of durable and dishwasher-safe stainless steel, this lunchbox is also great for carrying snacks…and camping, too! It’s safe to heat food in the containers over a camping stove. $26.