9 for '09: Less Food Waste - FamilyEducation

9 for '09: Less Food Waste

January 08,2009

 I recently read this article on food waste and was astounded. According to two studies, anywhere from 30-50% of all food that is purchased in the United States is thrown away. At first I was indignant, wondering who would waste so much food, especially in these times of food price increases and economic recession. Then one day, after a particularly ornery lunchtime, I looked in the sink at all the food going down the disposal and felt convicted:  Perhaps this was an issue I needed to address, too.

My friend Shannon and I joke that as moms we sometimes feel like human garbage disposals. Rare is the day when I don't eat something left over from the boys. Since I try to limit our waste, I find myself grazing off the boys' plates after mealtime. Don't get me wrong -- I certainly have my limits -- but all of this got me to thinking that perhaps I need to rethink how much food I offer them at mealtime.

My issue is that I sometimes have grand visions of how many green beans or cauliflower florets I would like my sons to eat, which sometimes differ widely from what is reasonable. Do you do this? It is almost as if I feel better plating a larger amount of healthy food, as if to think, "Look at this plate…my sons are eating healthy today!"  

Readjusting plating portion sizes has become a "back of my mind" issue. I think I need to stick a post-it note to each of the boys' plates in the cabinet to remind me "not too much…." 

We'll see if I follow through on that one. I did come up with one solution to a chronic food waste issue in our home.  Like many four-year-olds, R is going through a "no crusts" phase with his lunchtime sandwiches. I realized I wasn't alone in my quest to limit waste when I saw this post on another mom's blog entitled, "The Power Lunch of Moms Everywhere."  But here's the thing: I don't really like crust-only meals. So what's a mom to do? Well, when your sweet peas hand you crusts, make croutons.

This easy recipe makes some great croutons to add to a salad or soup, or even to have as a snack.

Baked Homemade Croutons

Crusts removed from bread *before* peanut butter or anything is spread on it
Olive oil
Spices to taste (you can use a pinch of onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, even oregano or parsley)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Cut the bread into small squares and place on a baking sheet. 

Drizzle with 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil per tray, and a pinch of salt and pepper, and spices, if using

.Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Flip the bread, bake another 5 minutes or so, or until they are brown.

Let cool.

Serve however you please--

(This is with my Butternut Squash Carrot Soup recipe.)

Easy peasy, less to throw away!