Welcome to day 2 of the 7-Day Food Waste Challenge! We’re so glad you’ve decided to take action on your household food waste.

When you’re planning what to eat for the coming week, always consider what you already have on hand. This is where yesterday’s work comes in. 

Start by making a list of everything you put in your “use this first” spots and note everything you want to use up this week. 

Next, pick out some recipes that use up as many of those ingredients as possible. 

Need some inspiration? Try some of these flexible recipes that can be adapted to whatever ingredients you have: 

Step 2: Pick your leftovers strategy 

Before you start shopping and cooking, we need to talk about leftovers. 

Leftovers that end up in the trash are a big contributor to wasted food and a major reason why consumers account for 37% of total US food waste. Being honest about your feelings toward leftovers is the first step. 

We’ve got some tips regardless of how you feel about that day-old pizza. 

  • Love ‘em? You’ve got it made! Plan to cook fewer meals because you’ll be happily eating those leftovers throughout the week.  
  • Not sure? Look for recipes to creatively use leftovers (NY Times has lots of ideas). Or work on your reheating game. The microwave is never going to make your food taste the best. Try reheating the dish the same way you cooked it.  
  • Hater? Don’t set yourself up for failure by making too much. Break out your calculator and scale down your recipes so you’re less likely to end up with extra.   

Step 3: Make your list and shop 

Whether you use an app or good ol’ fashioned pen and paper, you’re going to need a list before you shop. 

Add everything you still need to make the recipes you picked out. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make some swaps. Does your recipe call for cauliflower but all you have is broccoli? Skip adding an extra item (and expense) to your list and give the broccoli a try. 

This also helps once you’re at the grocery store—maybe the cauliflower doesn’t look so good or the broccoli is on sale. Simple swaps can often make really delicious dishes. 

Make sure to stick to your list while shopping. Sales are tempting, but if you don’t have a plan for using it, you could be setting yourself up for more waste. 

Once you bring your groceries home, remember those storage tips from yesterday when you’re putting everything away to keep it all fresh as long as possible. 


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