University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Local Food Program:
Making the Most of Food - More Value, Less Waste

The typical Vermonter throws out up to one pound of food per day. This translates into about 960 food calories wasted per person each day, not to mention all the energy lost in growing, processing, transporting, and preparing the food which isn't eaten. For a family of four, that's the financial equivalent to letting up to $175 go down the drain every month.

Helpful Tips for Reducing Food Waste and Saving Money

  • Stick to your shopping list
    • You know better than the store's advertisements what your family needs and wants to eat.
    • Don't be tempted by two-for-one specials unless you can store one and use it later.
  • Check portion sizes
    • You may find that you're being "upsold" on more food than your family really wants to eat.
  • Be adventurous - but with small portions.
    • Know what your family likes and how much they'll try. It's great to introduce new flavors and ingredients, but be realistic about how much your dining companions are likely to eat of something new and unusual.
  • Set your fridge temperature at 32F.
    • Food & leftovers will last longer if kept at a low temperature.
  • There's no need to peel!
    • It's great to leave the peel on most fresh produce. There are lots of nutrients there! If you must peel, use trimmings to make vegetable stock, or freeze in bag for later use.
  • Use your freezer.
    • Freeze and label leftovers for family size future meals. Allow room for expansion in the container and seal up tightly.

Before you shop

  1. Check your fridge for what you've already got and what needs to be used up.
  2. !
  3. Move items with oldest dates upfront so you see and use them first. Keep a need-only list on fridge.
  4. Empty your veggie drawers.
  5. Salvage the less-than-perfect veggies including any carrots, celery, broccoli, and even lettuce for soup: Boil veggies in water or stock until soft. Add garlic, onion, hot sauce to taste. Blend until smooth.