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Waste Not; Want Not

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About 40% of food in the United States is thrown away every year. Surprisingly, most of this waste happens at home. When food is thrown away, so is time and money.

But there are simple things you can do to reduce your food waste at home:

  • Take a look in your fridge and pantry to see what you already have. Keep these items in mind as you decide on your meals for the week and craft your shopping list accordingly.
  • Shop strategically.
    • Stick to your list. Avoid impulse items on endcap displays.
    • Look for items like “ugly” produce, which are safe to eat but might get left behind because of physical imperfections.
    • Buy items that have longer shelf lives in bulk. If you have time, buy fresh items in smaller amounts more frequently.
  • Store appropriately. Use these guides to maximize the shelf life of your food. Check your fridge and freezer inventory often and designate a space for food that needs to be eaten soon.
  • Recycle those nutrients back into the earth. Find a local compost program or start one in your yard for a simple and fun family project.
  • Don’t discard — cook creatively. Carrot tops and celery leaves make great soup additions, citrus peels are wonderful fresh garnishes and olive oil infusions, and broccoli stalks make delicious slaws.
  • Make it participatory. Teach your kids how food grows by starting an herb garden or potting vegetables. Ask them to pick out a recipe, help shop for ingredients (see who can find the “ugliest” produce!), and prepare it together.

We minimize our waste in school dining kitchens by using seasonal menus, sourcing locally, cooking in small batches, composting, and more. We partner closely with the communities we serve, assisting them in campus gardens and providing support for nationally recognized sustainability initiatives such as Certified Green Restaurant® and Fair Trade Campaigns School recognitions.

But at home, you don’t have to make big changes to have an impact. Small, simple steps can go a long way. For instance, the next time you make broccoli, instead of throwing the stems in the trash, use them in a recipe like this delicious Sesame Broccoli Slaw.

Gluten-Free Sesame Broccoli Slaw

Serves: 6 Prep Time: 20 minutes Total Time: about 1 hour


2 cups peeled and shredded broccoli stems 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 3 tablespoons brown sugar ¾ cup peeled and shredded carrots ¼ cup diced red onions ¼ cup diced white onions ¼ cup chopped scallions 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce 3 teaspoons sesame oil


Step 1: Combine all ingredients and toss evenly to coat. Step 2: Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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