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NGCC Food Checklist
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North Georgia Conservation Coalition ● Checklist for Reducing Food Waste

Keep your cash out of the trash!  Why?  The average American family of four throws away about $1,800 worth of food each year.  This amounts to more than 20% of the food and beverages each household buys per month.  What was required to grow, produce, and transport all that wasted food has a cost to our planet as well:  enough gas to drive around the world 8.5 million times, 1.8 billion pounds of fertilizer, 4.2 trillion gallons of water, and 780 million pounds of pesticides.  Below are some ideas to help.

Protect your produce.

Buy only what you will eat.  Put fruit in a bowl on the counter.  Wash produce just before eating it.  Freeze produce that might go bad and use it later in smoothies.  Use produce bags when shopping.

Deal with dinner creatively.

See leftovers in a whole new light by setting up a buffet and letting everyone choose what they like.  Create a platter with leftover fruit, veggies, cheese, and protein slices.  Turn leftover baguettes into crostini.

Stop buying lunch.

Use Bento boxes to make leftovers look appealing.  Transfer restaurant leftovers into quality storage containers.  Create space in the fridge for grab and go lunches.  Put leftovers in clear containers and label what needs to be eaten first.  (First In, First Out or FIFO.)

Question those “Great Deals.”

When shopping, ask yourself: Will my family eat all that?  Always have a plan on how you will use perishable food in bulk.  At home, remove what you plan to use immediately, then freeze the rest.  Bust out the masking tape and a Sharpie to identify and date every single thing.

Be real about your habits.

For a couple of weeks, monitor what food you toss on a regular basis.  What could you do differently?  Consider planning a few weeks at a time and buying less.  Try paying in cash and stick to your list.

Consider your fridge.

Make sure to keep the temperature between 38° and 40°.

Pretend you are your grandmother.

Use everything!  “Eat the kitchen!” which means shop in your own pantry before buying more.  Plan your meals around what’s in the fridge.

Pretend you are on Chopped.

Use your fridge and pantry contents as “mystery baskets” to see what you can create.  Use up veggies and meats for pizza, omelets, or soup night.

Prolong your salad days.

Transfer bagged greens to a glass or plastic airtight container lined with paper towels, give them room to breathe, and place another paper towel on top.  If buying greens in a box, fluff them to prevent sliminess and cover them with a paper towel to absorb moisture.

Other Resources

American Heart Association (, Real Mom Nutrition blog (, OurGroceries app (, Zero-Waste Chef blog (

Connect with North Georgia Conservation Coalition!                   Facebook: @NGAConservationCoalition