There are not many things more frustrating in the kitchen than having to toss food that was perfectly good – had I eaten it in time. That has been a constant struggle as I find myself on the road a majority of the time for work and my odd running excursions. Scheduling grocery runs between these trips is one thing. It’s another to purchase food in the right quantities when cooking for only one. I hate tossing part of a gallon of milk I forgot in the fridge. How can we reduce food waste?

Fortunately, I’ve been able to adopt some changes and reduce the food I’m throwing out thanks to some smart planning. Investing in a good freezer, and repackaging foods in smaller containers help keep food from going bad in the fridge. I’ve also worked on batch cooking or buying items in smaller quantities, even though that can cost a little more upfront. There are times when I have to get creative with leftovers and use that can of vegetables that have been sitting in the pantry. And it’s a good thing I can raid the fridge after a long run on weekends. #HungryRunner problems.

It’s hard to believe some statistics show families in the U.S. toss up to 20 pounds of food in the home each month! Whether that be due to confusion over use-by or sell-by dates, or just failed good intentions of utilizing leftovers, that’s a lot of food waste. There are ways we can #WasteLess.

reduce food waste
Click the image to enlarge this infographic with ways to save on beef.

What can you do to reduce waste?

Similar to the Protein Challenge I participated in last year, I recently took part in a 30-day Food Waste Challenge provided by the Beef Checkoff.

The Food Waste Challenge is simple and easy to participate in. Each week, I received a series of emails that provided a different challenge to evaluate how much food I was wasting and provided solutions to help reduce that waste of food. Just a few simple changes will hopefully reduce the amount of money I’m tossing every month. I have already found myself saving a few bucks at the grocery store this past month.

So, I challenge you to give the 30-day Food Waste Challenge a try. Earth Day makes a pretty opportune time to think about wasting less and being more sustainable in the home. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

What is the Food Challenge?

The 30-Day Food Waste Challenge is a call to action encouraging people to waste less food. Kicking off in April, we’ll arm you with the facts about food waste in America, tips, and resources to help you waste less food and encourage others to join you.

Q. Who should participate in Food Waste Challenge?

Everyone who eats! Reducing the waste of food is one of the most impactful things anyone can do to help decrease their environmental footprint. So, whether you struggle with meal planning, using leftovers, or use-by dates, there is a strategy for you in the Food Waste Challenge to help reduce your waste of food.

Q. How does food waste impact the environment?

When food is produced but not consumed, it’s a huge unnecessary use of resources. Not only are all of the resources used in producing the food wasted, uneaten food often ends up in a solid waste landfill, the third-largest source of methane emissions in the U.S.[1]

Americans throw away more than 20 pounds of food per person every month. Even if you waste a little bit less, your participation in this challenge combined with the awareness you spread to your peers can have a major impact on waste reduction in the United States.[2]

Q. How big of a problem is food waste in the U.S.?

The U.S. produces 430 billion pounds of food, but 133 billion of these pounds are wasted at the retail and consumer levels – so it’s a pretty big problem. While the waste is at both levels, the USDA found that people throw away roughly 90 billion pounds of consumables each year – more than double the amount of retail.[3] This campaign aims to raise awareness so people can identify and reduce their food-wasting behaviors.

[2] Food Waste: The Facts,, 2015.
[3] The Estimated Amount, Value, and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States, United States Department of Agriculture, 2014.
FAQ provided by the Food Waste Challenge from the Beef Checkoff.

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