Give leftovers new life
Leftovers again? Give them a tasty second life by turning them into something new. Take roast chicken. The next day, shred the leftover for tacos or cut-up and toss in a salad. When you’ve cleaned up all the meat, toss the chicken carcass in a large pot or slow cooker. Add water, spices, and chopped veggies to make stock. Leftover beef or pot roast from Sunday dinner? “Turn leftover beef or pork roast into soup or pulled beef/pork dish for an easy meal the next day or slow cook the leftovers in water with onion and garlic overnight and freeze as a base for a future meal,” says Heather McCurdy, creator of Real: The Kitchen and Beyond. Leaving town for a few days? Instead of returning to a smelly fridge and tossing the contents in the trash, McCurdy suggests freezing any leftovers. You’ll have a meal ready to thaw and heat when you return exhausted from a trip. (Related: Here’s how to reheat leftovers for the best taste.)
Use vegtable scraps to grow new food
Seriously! You can reduce food waste and simultaneously grow new food from the scraps you would normally toss in the trash. Romaine lettuce, green onions, bok choy, celery, fennel, garlic chives, cabbage, leeks, and lemongrass can all be regrown with just a bit of water. “Save and place the core or trimmed end of the food in a jar or bowl of water,” says Stephanie Merchant and founder of thenutritionmom.com. “Replace the water daily to keep it clean and look for new growth.” What about the scraps you can’t regrow? Broccoli stems are great in stir fries, soups and stews, and for juicing. The core of a fresh pineapple is too tough to eat but you can chop it up and use for a smoothie or toss the chunks into your water bottle for a flavor boost. Check out these 10 natural flavored water recipes.
Serve dinner on small plates
Kids are notorious for wasting food. It’s the whole “eyes are bigger than their stomach” mentality. It moves them to put mountains of food on their plate, only to leave most of it behind, says Stacy Haynes Ed.D, LPC, of Little Hands Family Services in Turnersville New Jersey. To combat this, she recommends serving meals on smaller plates. This works great for young children because they are more inclined to eat all the food when it is on a little plate. It has a great benefit for adults too because we can trick ourselves into eating less by managing portion control.