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How much food does your family waste?

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  • How much food does your family waste?

    I grew up pretty poor, so I try not to waste anything. But my children have never known what it is like to skip a meal or eat inadequate food. They are very picky, and waste food in every single meal. My son is nine and I try to explain it to him, but the whole "starving people in Africa" thing falls on deaf ears. They seriously waste half of each and every meal. It doesn't help snacks are readily available to them if they don't like something. I just hate to tell them no, when they say later that they are hungry, even though they could have ate the balanced meal I prepared for them. If I was to take a guess, they waste enough food every day to feed at least two more kids, and keep them quite healthy. Even if I make too much food, I bag it up for leftovers. If it's not worth saving or leftovers are too old, I feed it to the strays. That's better than just throwing it out. How much does your family waste?

  • #2
    More than I would like to admit that is for sure. I have never been in a situation in which there was not enough food in the house, but we have been close before and so I try to make our waste as minimal as possible. I have learned how to cook better over the years so that there is not a ton of leftovers after we eat dinner. The only real thing that goes to waste in my house is left over pasta because we generally do not eat the rest after the initial dinner. I recently had to throw our a whole bowl of tuna salad because it got shoved to the back of the fridge. It must have cost me over $3 for the ingredients and it was just wasted.

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    • #3
      I admit that I make too much food when I am making the meals. I want to ensure there is enough food for everyone. When there are leftovers I sometimes put them in the fridge, and may eat them as a snack later, or I put it in bags and freeze it. My family does not eat leftovers well. I generally don't mind, unless it is something like a cooked pork chop. Cooked meat does not freeze, thaw and reheat well. I threw two big bags of meat out to the stray cats last night. Honestly, I need to cut down on how much I cook, and then maybe I can't blame the kids for wasting as much.

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      • #4
        My mom raised me in a way as to not waste food. If I did not eat my main meal complete, I had no dessert (though dessert was rare). Furthermore, if I did not finish my plate, it was put in a tupperware with the extras of what she cooked to make my lunch of the next day. We did not have too many snacks though.

        It worked because I love leftovers. I'll take them anyday over a sandwich. Now, I do waste food -- the fridge is too small and too unorganized, food gets forgotten and unused and leftovers don't have the space to fit etc. This is one of my big regrets. I hate to waste food, and I hate myself when I do. Any sort of food that I throw away feels like I'm stepping over my heart and my principles --- even if it's rotten or something. Just tears at me.

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        • #5
          I'm not sure if we actually "waste" food, because the leftovers get fed to the dogs and cat, so there's no food going to the thrash. But if we don't have any pets, then I guess we'd be wasting a little bit of food, but not that much.

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          • #6
            Thankfully now that I live with my girlfriend, its close to none. When I used to live with my family, you can bet on it that there is no day that our help doesn't throw out left overs specially when someone takes too much on their plate and simply refuses to finish the whole thing or they sometimes promise that they will come back for their plate later but totally forgets about it in the end. It is very true that there are so many people out there that never knew what it's like to not have enough food for the day. But for those of us that do, I believe its up to us to educate our young ones.

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            • #7
              for a long time now, the wife and I have gotten to the point of not wasting much food, either when we buy it or prepare it. While I was never hungry, growing up, my mom and dad did beat in to us, to not waste food or anything else. Living on a sailboat will do that, as well as health issues that lead to no income.

              My wife and I would split meals when we used to be able to eat out, and still brought enough home for a second meal for both of us, later. Americans expect huge portions at eating out places, but now our fixed income forces us to be more frugal than ever before. We are very careful about what we buy and how much we cook. We also have a summer garden for tomatoes, cukes, peppers, beans and strawberries in the back yard.

              Sadly a lot of food is wasted long before it reaches the stores, as Americans expect every piece of fruit, every tomato, every piece of produce to be absolutely blemish free and all but perfect, anything less is plowed under. The Food Network TV channel had a special a little bit back where three hoitytoity NYC chefs made banquet meals out of "trashed" food. I think Anne Burrell was in it, but it was very well done about all the "regulations" that force the trashing of WAAYYY!! too much food.

              As a kid, we used to get permission to glean a field and was able to feed our family, neighbors and a lot of the time people at church, there was so much from just one farm we gleaned from.

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              • #8
                I saw a show in which there was a group of people who would go through the dumpsters of local food stores and restaurants pulling out still fresh fruits , veggies, and bread. It was shocking to see how much good food was tossed away when it could go to a food bank or soup kitchen. These people lived off the food and ate it for their meals. I could not do that, but it was a wake up call on how much food waste there really is.

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                • #9
                  It's impossible to quantify the amount of food our household has wasted. Thankfully, we don't really waste that much compared to other families. Our pets are there to ensure food wastage is kept to a minimum in addition to cuddling purposes. For food that's no longer edible for animals and humans alike, we use them as fetilizers.

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                  • #10
                    I grew up on a household wherein every piece of food must be consumed. We tend not to waste a lot of food. Though, there are times where food suddenly goes bad and we had to throw it out.

                    For example, I eat as much of a chicken as I can. My friends even commented that only bones are left. As long as I can eat it, I will eat it. In my apartment, I buy enough food for myself. The only time I waste food are the the times I failed to cook rice properly. The rice clings to the bottom of the cooker.
                    RingoBerry likes this.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Radix24 View Post
                      I grew up on a household wherein every piece of food must be consumed. We tend not to waste a lot of food. Though, there are times where food suddenly goes bad and we had to throw it out.

                      For example, I eat as much of a chicken as I can. My friends even commented that only bones are left. As long as I can eat it, I will eat it. In my apartment, I buy enough food for myself. The only time I waste food are the the times I failed to cook rice properly. The rice clings to the bottom of the cooker.

                      I've heard this from my mom too, I guess most Filipino households try to apply this discipline to their children being aware with the economy and all. But I guess it is safe to assume that almost every home that understands the difficulty of putting food on the table tries to avoid wasting.

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                      • #12
                        I rarely waste food. Generally if I cook too much I just put it in the fridge or freeze it and then eat it the next day. I understand the whole people go hungry thing but seriously people should only eat as much as they're comfortable with instead of forcing themselves to overeat, which might be why this country has so much obesity. I just eat until I stop feeling hungry, store the rest and eat it again if I feel hungry again until it's gone. If it's too late sometimes then I just compost the rest for the garden.

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                        • #13
                          I try not to waste food. I feel very guilty anytime that I throw something away knowing that there are people who are hungry. When I cook at home, I compost anything organic in my garden where I grow organic fruits and vegetables. I try to rub off on my friends in a good way. Whenever we would go out to eat they would order a huge plate of food, take a few bites and say they're full and want to throw it away. Now they take the leftovers home and eat it later. I just feel like small things like this matter and more people should realize how fortunate we are to have access to fresh food whenever we want. I try to not take anything for granted.

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                          • #14
                            We have actually had the experience of not eating for days at a time so we don't waste food, but I get where you are coming from Primal. My kids are bad about eating half an apple or not eating their dinner and asking for a peanut butter sandwich an hour later. I just don't throw that food out though I or my husband will eat it later. I freeze any other leftovers after a day or two to use for soups or stews later.

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                            • #15
                              I think we'd be amazed by all the food that goes to waste, if it were put into one pile. I also think that learning to avoid waste is part of the "preparedness" we often speak of. If we buy and waste things now, that's money we don't have to spend on things we need to get prepared for later.

                              I always feel guilty when something goes to waste. It took me a while to learn how to pare down what I buy and cook. I went from cooking for a family of six, four of them hungry kids, to half that (since 3 are grown and have moved out). I try to plan better and shop better now. My crew aren't big on leftovers, but I usually try to have any leftovers for lunch the next day, or disguise that they are leftovers by making them into something else. I freeze a lot of stuff too. At first, I'd forget to use it. Now, I try to go through everything more regularly.

                              Soups and stews work great, Ally.

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