7 Tips for Reducing Food Waste

7 Tips for Reducing Food Waste

Hands up if you ever questioned your parents when they told you not to waste your food because there are people starving in Africa.

As a child this really doesn’t make a lick of sense. How can the food I don’t eat help a starving person? Are we actually going to ship our leftovers to them?

We all know as adults that this was our parents’ way of trying to encourage us not to waste our food. But the truth is, if our ancestors could see how much food we’re wasting day in and day out, they would be absolutely appalled. And you know what? It really, really makes me mad; it doesn’t have to be this way!

1.3 BILLION tons of food gets wasted per year by people from all over the world. That’s billion, with a B.

To put this all into perspective, that is roughly one third of the food this planet produces. ONE THIRD. Wasted. And this is happening while 925 million people on the planet are suffering from hunger.

This is just not right and it’s not doing our planet any good. Food disposal is hard on the environment and it costs money. Not only is good money wasted by throwing out food we paid for, but roughly a billion dollars is spent on getting rid of wasted food in the United States each year.

And while we can’t stop the world from being wasteful, we can put an end to wastefulness in our own homes. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make meal plan each and every week (all of our Dinner Answers menus come with a categorized shopping list) before you go grocery shopping. You’ll only buy what you need.

2. Avoid buying in bulk unless you know you will eat the food you buy, or unless you plan to donate some of that food to a food bank or soup kitchen

3. Serve smaller portions to your family so food isn’t scraped into the garbage

4. Plan leftovers from today’s dinner for tomorrow’s meals (I do this all the time!)

5. Check expiration dates of everything you buy, so you’re not putting your groceries directly in the garbage when you get home

6. Take a cue from the grocery stores and rotate the food in your fridge. Put newer produce towards the back and bring older food to the front so it doesn’t rot back there

7. Use your crisper drawers for items you eat a lot, like carrots and apples. It’s not called a crisper, not a rotter, so don’t put easier-to-forget-about items down there to languish where it will just turn to a nasty mess.

How do you try to prevent wasted food in your home?

Special Report – Expired Condiments

Special Report – Expired Condiments

 By: Leanne Ely

 

Ladies, are you suffering from OCS? Old Condiment Syndrome? You know what I’m talking about. Crusty ketchup bottles, icky, old Ranch dressing and ancient mustard?

We all have as many condiments as we do cleaning supplies. FlyLady says she knows what’s lurking under your sinks (more cleaning supplies than a janitorial service needs). Well, I know what you have in your refrigerator doors. Fossilized condiments! And more than a busy hotdog stand in New York City needs, too!

Did you know the refrigerated shelf life for mayonnaise is two months? It is! So guess what? Today is the day you get to toss that stuff and get a new one. Listen, if you don’t use it often enough, buy a smaller jar. Even though it costs more money, it really is the cheaper way to go. You don’t need nasty old mayo in your fridge!

Closeup view of several glass bottles filled with various types of hot sauces.

Here are some more items you probably have languishing in the doors of your fridge or way in the back:

1—Mustard. Not just the yellow kind, but Dijon, honey mustard, brown mustard and that teeny, tiny jar of gourmet mustard from the gift basket you received over the holidays with the funky taste. No one likes it, but instead of throwing it out, you put it in the fridge. Why? Toss it! Shelf life: 6-8 months in the fridge; 2 years unopened in a pantry.

2—Jams and Jellies. The other day, I pulled out a raspberry jam that had a “best used by” date of 4/5/12. YIKES! I bet you have some of those too! Time to chuck them as well! Shelf life: 1 year in the fridge; 1 year unopened in the pantry.

3—Salad Dressings. A lot of commercial salad dressings have enough preservatives in them to embalm you. However, nothing lasts forever. If they’ve been opened for more than 3 months in the fridge, they’ve gotta go too. Unopened, they’ll last a year in your pantry.

4—Pickles. I think I’ve had the same jar of pickles in my fridge since I’ve had the raspberry jam. The issue for pickles is they don’t last as long as jam in the fridge! Only 1-2 months opened and in the fridge. For the pantry shelf? One year unopened. Time to boogie your pickles!

5—Ketchup. I don’t even want to know how old my ketchup is. Let’s just say probably from the same era as the pickles and the raspberry jam. Truth is, it’s only good for about 2 months in the fridge. Unopened and on the pantry shelf, it can last a year before it needs tossing.

6—Salsa and Hot Sauce. Guess what? Once your hot sauce or salsa is opened, it’s good for just a month in the fridge! Don’t wait for it to mold; throw it OUT! Unopened, it’s good for a year on your pantry shelf.

7—Olives. Oh yes, I confess. My olives are refrigerator pals with the jam, ketchup and pickles! Out they go today…they only last a month opened in the fridge. They’ll last a year unopened in your pantry though!

Well, that’s quite a condemning list, isn’t it? The question is how to know how old everything is? One rule of thumb if there is no date on the jar or package and if you don’t remember when you opened it, it’s probably a good idea to toss it.

How can you avoid Old Condiment Syndrome? By marking your condiments on the label with a Sharpie (it will hold up to the refrigeration without smudging or smearing) with the date so you know. You might want to keep this list handy too in your Control Journal so you know how long to keep these items.

Last thoughts on this and then you can go cure the OCS in your fridge: unless you have a huge family or you’re an overly zealous condiment using family, it’s probably best to stick with supermarket sized condiments as opposed to the jumbo sized stuff that they sell in those warehouse stores. Bigger isn’t always better.

Have fun tossing!

Sometimes you feel like an expired condiment…tired and old. 🙁 But it doesn’t have to be that way–the 21 Day Knock Out begins MONDAY! The only thing missing is YOU!

The Ultimate Spice Cabinet Clean Out!

The Ultimate Spice Cabinet Clean Out!

By: Leanne Ely

 

How many of us have professed to want to eat healthier, lose weight and get organized? It’s almost as if these three things are the ultimate trifecta! Believe it or not, one of the best ways to do all three of these things is to spice up your low calorie fare with herbs and spices.

But before you can organize your spices, you need to do a quick spice check. I’ve got this feeling we’ve got some OLD, ancient spices sitting in those cupboards! Let’s go on an archaeological dig and see what kind of fossils we can unearth. Here’s how you’re going to know you need some new spices–

Close up cooking ingredients,  spices, herds

You may need some new spices if:

*The date stamp on the bottom of the jar was from when you were in high school:

*The company who made the spice in the first place is out of business. Since 1980!

*The can is rusted and the label indistinguishable-you don’t know what’s in there.

*The label is missing so you smell it to identify it and can’t!

*The smell of the spice smells oddly like the garage on a rainy day.

*You mistakenly grab ground ginger for white pepper and it didn’t ruin what you were making because it had no flavor!

According to the website of McCormick Spice, if you still have spices in a tin can, you know the square and rectangular shaped cans with shaker and spoon out tops, they are seriously out of date-with the exception of black pepper-they have not manufactured the cans in over 15 years!!

The shelf life of spices is as follows:

Ground spices: 2 to 3 years

Whole spices: 3 to 4 years

Dried Herbs: 1 to 3 years

Great rule of thumb to figure out what to keep and what to pitch-if your spice is over a year old, it needs to be tossed. To keep your spices fresh and nice, you will want to buy only what you need and mark the bottom of the container with a Sharpie, indicating the date you purchased the spice.

I love buying my spices at the health food store (they are unbelievably fresh and cheap, because you buy what you need) and discount stores like Wal-Mart (2 for $1.00!). You can always have fresh spices when you get them this way.

Are you ready to spice up your life with some FRESH spices? Old Spice is cologne, not what should be hanging out in our spice drawers. Let’s get some fresh ones this week!

Now that you have all fresh and new spices, be sure and pick up a copy of our Ultimate Mix Ebook to create some spice, soup and sauce mixes of your own!

Good oil/bad oil. Now you’ll know the difference.

Good oil/bad oil. Now you’ll know the difference.

By: Leanne Ely

 

There is a good deal of confusion around which oils are good for cooking and which are not.

Fat is essential for human health. We need fat in our diets for hormone health, cell building, energy, and even for keeping our skin in good shape. There are certain vitamins (A, D, E and K) that require fat to help us absorb them as well.

Unfortunately, however, the average American’s diet today is high in poor quality fats, specifically, vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are relatively new to the human diet (within the past hundred years or so), and they are actually doing more harm than good in the human body. Especially when they are used in cooking.

Canola oil, corn oil and margarine are all examples of vegetable oils that increase inflammation and free radical damage in the body.

The majority of your fat intake should be coming from healthy oils like coconut and olive oil (the main two oils I personally use), and whole foods like avocados, salmon, grass fed animals, nuts and seeds.

With all the oils that look up at you from store shelves, which one should you use for what so that you get the most that you can out of those good fats?

Different sorts of cooking oil, close-up

Good Fats

• Coconut oil
• Olive oil
• Avocado oil
• Fish oils
• Walnut oil
• Macadamia nut oil
• Grass-fed butter
• Ghee
• Flax oil (but needs to be kept refrigerated and is very unstable so not recommended)

Fats to avoid

• Margarine and other artificial trans fats
• Vegetable oils
• Oils made from GMO grains
• Grape seed oil (it’s very high in Omega 6 fatty acids which we need to be consuming less of)

You want to cook with stable cooking oils like avocado oil and coconut oil.

EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) should never be heated up because doing so not only destroys the benefits of the olive oil, but it can also turn that healthy oil into a damaging trans fat that will actually harm your health.

This may be the first time you’ve heard of there being a significant difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. EVOO is what you get after the first press of the olive. The result is a rich, pungent oil, best for drizzling over salads or breads.

When the oil is pressed multiple times, you have a lighter oil that is best for cooking. The more the olives are pressed, the lighter the oil.

I wouldn’t recommend cooking with nut oils, they’re so expensive they aren’t really a reasonable option anyway. Flax is excellent for you, but I don’t recommend buying it in a liquid oil form because of how unstable it is. It goes rancid very quickly.

At the end of the day, you need to know that vegetable oil is to be avoided at all costs (margarine, canola oil, corn oil). Save those fancy nut and seed oils for salad dressings and use coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee for cooking.

Did you know you are allowed good fats on our NEW 21 Day Knockout? Check it out here!

Shopping cart envy

Shopping cart envy

By: Leanne Ely

 

There are two types of grocery store shoppers in the world. There are those who navigate the exterior of the market, list in hand, confidently reaching for fresh ripe produce, organic meats, probiotic dairy items and other healthy exotic ingredients. They stand at the check out, proud of the items they’ve selected, ignoring the strategically placed candy bars next to the magazines.

Then, there are the shoppers who spend a great deal of time in the freezer section, focusing on convenience and price over nutrition. Those carts are full of packaged foods, “fat-free” this and “sugar-free” that . . . foods full of GMOs and empty calories. There might be some apples, carrots or potatoes, but above that, these carts are generally sparse of produce.

Full shopping cart at store with fresh vegetables and hands close-up.

When convenience shoppers find themselves behind healthy shoppers at the check out, they may have shopping cart envy. They might wish they knew what half of those healthy items are and what they would do with them if they had the courage to buy them. They may also be aware that their own cart is being quietly judged by the healthy shopper in line behind them.

Yes, there are generally two types of shoppers, though they may be at various extremes of this convenience vs. healthy spectrum. If you find yourself suffering from cart envy and are trying to get yourself closer to being that healthy shopper, first of all, hats off to you. You should be proud of yourself for wanting to buy healthier foods for you and your family because you recognize that the convenience foods are not contributing to your well being.

If you want to be the one making other shoppers envious of your cart, just go ahead and make the decision to cut out the packages. When you commit to preparing your family’s meals from scratch, you naturally have to bulk up on fresh ingredients because you will no longer be able to rely on those processed foods.

We make eating like this EASY with our brand new Dinner Answers. (Lucky for you, our Dinner Answers membership is on sale right now!) Everyone in the store will be envying your shopping cart!