Reducing waste at home

“The thing people need to focus on when looking at food waste is that there’s a lot of money that can be saved in businesses and in your home,” says chef Katie Button. “If you can reduce your food waste, you can reduce the amount you spend each week at the grocery store.”

Button offers the following tips for decreasing the amount of food that ends up in your home trash can or compost bin:

  • Plan before you shop

    Make a list before you go to the grocery store and only buy what you need. Consider quantities and portion sizes — especially of proteins, which spoil very quickly.

  • The freezer is your friend

    When you find you can’t use a perishable food item right away, put it in the freezer to use later.

  • Get creative with scraps

    Develop a couple of go-to dishes you can prepare using leftovers and scraps. “It sounds silly, but they can be some of the most delicious things,” says Button. When she has leftovers, she likes to sauté and caramelize them in a pan with vegetables or rice then top it all with a cooked egg. “It’s the best!” she says, noting that eggs are an affordable, nutritious protein and cook up quickly.

  • Sell-by does not mean use-by

    “So much food gets wasted because of confusion over sell-by dates,” Button says. “And lots of times, even the use-by date time frame is set way shorter than what science shows the actual lifespan of a product is.” For details on sell-by vs. use-by dates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, visit

About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at

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