Wasted food adds up for U.S. households

Wasted food adds up for U.S. households

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SALT LAKE CITY — It's estimated that 15 to 20 percent of our food dollars is wasted, something most people cannot afford in this day and age.

Food waste nationwide has increased by 50 percent over the past 30 years, according to a study in PLoS ONE. If you spend $300 a month on food and throw away the estimated lower end, 15 percent, that's $600 a year wasted.

More of Teresa's Tips
  • Learn how to cook and read a recipe.
  • Turn today's chicken into tomorrow's dinner as well, by serving it a different way.
  • Dish out less onto your and your kids' plates so you don't scrape as much into the garbage.
  • Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Make a list at the grocery store and stick to it.
  • Make sure the temperature on your fridge and freezer is at the right setting.
  • When apples start to turn make applesauce.
  • Beat and freeze eggs that are about to expire.
  • Freeze milk in smaller containers if you are about to go on a trip.

"Most of us can't afford to throw that money down the drain," said Teresa Hunsaker, a family and consumer science educator for the Utah State University Extension.

She says it takes a commitment to menu planning, budgeting, watching leftovers and learning to cook what we buy.

"We don't know how to cook. We don't know how to use a pork roast and make a number of meals out of it," she said. "We need to get better about strictly being aware how much is going to waste."

For example, she says:

  • Don't pour a full cup of milk then leave it out
  • Don't serve kids big portions then throw away the extra
  • Do rotate the cans and jars in your pantry.
  • Do make smoothies out of old fruit
  • Do make croutons out of old bread

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Mary Richards


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