Greetings for 2022, Conscientious Food Consumers!
Kitchen Confessions is back and we’re ramping up our efforts to help you waste less food and save more $$ in your household food budget in this new year. You can look forward to even more useful tips, anecdotes, resources and friendly nudges for making the most of your groceries — every day, every meal!
Now that we’ve all had awhile to settle into 2022, it’s a great time to challenge ourselves to a Do-It-Yourself Wasted Food Discovery Week . It’s a simple, three-step self audit to help you determine:
- How much and which kinds of food got tossed;
- Why they got wasted;
- Optional: weight or volume of wasted food items; and
- How much did you spend for those items or portions?
Wasted Food = Wasted $$!
If you live in Corvallis, Albany, or Philomath, please utilize your Yard Debris cart from Republic Services for compost waste. When you keep food out of the landfill, you’re also doing your part to reduce those powerful methane greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate havoc!
Once you multiply one week’s totals by the number of remaining weeks this year, you’ll probably get a valuable reality check on how much $$ you can save with simple actions and tools like the ones in our Smart Strategies tool box (available in both Spanish and English).
Karen’s Confession: My Wasted Food Discovery Week “reality check” last year yielded a bottom line of more than $1,000 in potential savings! So I am certainly extra-motivated in this new year to prevent hundreds of my hard-earned dollars from going into the compost bin. You can read about what I learned and shared in KC blog #24, “Waste Happens. Own it-Track it-Save!”
GREAT TOOLS CREATE GREAT HABITS!
Jeanette’s 2021 success story
In the past year, the NFLB staff has worked extra hard to walk our talk and make changes in our own homes.
We know how challenging it can be at times in family situations and multi-member households, so wasted food/money still happens! This past week, I had to compost some moldy bread ends and some stale cheddar puffs, and Karen shared with me her chagrin about wasting a whole package of Bob’s Red Mill organic oats.
However, in 2021 my family and I realized some notable changes around leftovers and withering produce in the fridge. I have been surprised and delighted to find that, after more than a year taping Eat First! signs to a leftovers section in our fridge, it has become automatic to start our meal prep there!
Whether it was cooked rice, some extra tossed salad, or items closest to their “Best By” dates, it has became so automatic we no longer seem to need the signage!
This part is pretty important: Hubby and I found that if items remained clearly visible, identified AND date-labeled (tape on front is most helpful), it was super easy to eat everything up!
So in using NFLB’s Smart Strategy tools, my fridge clean-outs have mostly become a thing of the past. It’s good to know how to build muscle-memory for this money-saving habit! YOU CAN TOO!
How much will you save in 2022, Conscientious Food Consumers? Join the Kitchen Confessions staff and everyday folks like these in everyday actions that can make a HUGE difference! Here’s some other resources you may find useful:
- LEFTOVERS RECIPES submitted by community members in our contest last year. There’s even one for using up old Valentine chocolates!
- HANDY APPS like FoodKeeper from the USDA for food safety and BigOven for whipping up meals from those random items on your “Eat First!” shelf in the fridge, freezer or pantry.
- “Don’t Be a Bad Apple!” Fun tips, videos and resources from a new campaign by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Here’s to a healthy and waste-less 2022! If you’re shopping the Winter Farmers’ Market at the Benton County Fairgrounds (we’re there every other week near the main entrance, across from Riverland Farms), be sure to drop by our booth and say hello!