in the kitchen

Green Living Tip 19 {Reduce Food Waste}


Today’s green living tip: reduce food waste. By eating the food you’ve purchased, you keep it out of the landfill. One of the easiest ways we’ve found to significantly reduce food waste is to eat our leftovers. By meal planning, we make a plan to cook one night and then have the same meal again the next. By strategically eating our leftovers, our food waste has been dramatically reduced and we don’t have to cook every night. (Here’s how to meal plan and 11 reasons you should meal plan.)

Another method for reducing food waste? Eat dinner for breakfast! Our kids love to have last night’s dinner for a quick breakfast. Leftovers can also be packed, to go, for lunch at school or work. For lunch, leftovers do double duty – they provide a delicious, healthy meal (that might otherwise get lost in the back of the fridge) and they save time in preparation because they’re already made! Healthy lunches brought from home always keep me from going out to eat and packing a lunch saves money, too.

Green Living Reduce Food Waste Go Gingham
I spoke on a panel at BlogHer Food on how to reduce food waste.


The trick to making this work is, the “leftovers” need to taste good. So, if the dinner from the night before was delicious, so will the leftovers be. No one wants to take the leftovers that aren’t tasty. Find meals that your family likes and plan to make a double-batch so you’ll have “leftovers.” Food waste disappears because the healthy meals are getting eaten – and junk food isn’t. It’s win-win!

What’s your favorite meal to have ‘leftover’ the day after? Do you eat dinner for breakfast?

Go Gingham Earth Month:

To celebrate April as “Earth Month,” I’m sharing a tip every day this month. Find all the tips by clicking the image below.

Green Living Go GinghamYou’ll find simple and easy ideas to implement at your home – and they’ll save money as well!

10 thoughts on “Green Living Tip 19 {Reduce Food Waste}

  1. I do all of this. I am the cook and usually prepare more than we need, but we will eat on it a few days. If we get tired of it I make it in to “something else” or freeze it. We have very little food waste. We do occasionally have something forgotten though and for those times we throw the food out in to the yard for our ‘animals’. We live on acreage and have all kinds of little guys. Thanks


  2. We are much like you and Bobbi–in our house, leftovers are a GOOD thing. I think I’ve mentioned before that sometimes we will have a smorgasbord supper (during those weeks when we end up with a lot of odds and ends). That seems to be a big hit, probably because you can choose your meal.


    1. Kris, we had smorgasbord lunch today! 🙂
      Sometimes Brad and I get stuck with the really leftover leftovers for lunch but that’s ok. I’d rather eat our food than toss it out.
      Thanks, Kris!


  3. We always take leftover dinner to work for lunch the next day. I mostly do it because it saves time (just pack instead of prepare and pack) but it definitely saves money and we eat more nutritious food, too. And if I’m thoughtful when I’m serving, I can just use the same bowls I’m planning to pack lunch in and then we also have less dishes to do. That parts kind of a big if, tho.

    I wonder if we’d have liked the “leftovers” dinners more when I was a kid if my mom had marketed them as the more exotic “smorgasbord”? You people are clever!


  4. P.S. We were going to recycle a peanut butter jar last week, and at the last minute, Jeff took it out of the recycle bin and said, I’m going to keep this. Did you see Sara’s blog post last week about how they love their old jars? We can use this for something.

    I was cracking up.


  5. We have gotten so much better at eating leftovers. I just put my food down! and said this is it this is what you’re eating….again. LOL. Or i’ve gotten good and recreating the meal making it something totally different.
    I love that your kids will eat leftover dinner for breakfast!


    1. Oh I like the sounds of creating something different, too!
      We do that – and it mostly works. Eggs are my favorite tool for whipping leftovers together into some sort of egg dish. 🙂
      Thanks Sheila! Glad to know you’ve got your family under control!!


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