Change the World Wednesday, Oh Boy

This week’s challenge, from Reduce Footprints,  is about waste, but there are two issues connected in this one challenge. I’ve got the first down, but still working on the other one.

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So what is this week’s challenge: Watching our portion sizes.

This week, monitor food portion sizes and cook accordingly. Even if you are cooking once for more than one meal, pay attention to portions and resist cooking more than necessary, which often leads to waste. Need help determining portion size? This SITE will give you a general discussion on the topic with some clever ideas on how to determine a proper portion. The CALORIE COUNTER is a search tool. Type in the food you want to make and it’ll bring up calories associated with various servings sizes … the first listing is typically considered a proper serving. The idea, here, is not to restrict calories or in any way “diet”. Instead, we are educating ourselves on portion sizes and then cooking just enough so that we eliminate food waste.

Are you up for this challenge? I know that you are!

I am trying to lose weight, nothing new, but having less mobility has caused me to gain weight and I’m struggling to find that happy balance between what my body really needs and not starving myself.  I struggled when my boys left home to only shop for one person. After feeding two teenage boys and their friends/girlfriends, I got used to buying quite a lot of food.  Then when it was only myself it was hard to figure out just how little I needed to buy.  Fresh produce was the hardest.  I wanted a variety of fruits and vegetables in my diet but some foods aren’t sold in small enough quantities, say a bag of grapes for one.

Just don't rely on prepackaged options for portion control.

Just don’t rely on prepackaged options for portion control.

I’ve done better about the vegetables, this winter I am growing my salad greens in the front window, I’d show you but I am just starting another batch so there isn’t much to see. I need to learn to reseed before I run out.  This saves on waste as I only clip what I intend to eat. Fruit is a bit harder, but now I freeze what I can’t eat before it goes bad and use it in smoothies.

Same with my meals.  I often prepare more than I will eat and divide it up to freeze in serving size portions.  I must be doing something right because I have very little in the way of food scraps frozen for the spring compost.  Mostly onion and potato peels, along with apple cores and fruit peels.

Do you  have a system in place in your kitchen to reduce waste?

42 Comments

  1. My daughter gave me a pretty container for storing compost to bring out to the pile. I use it daily for produce waste, eggshells, and coffee grounds. I’ll be building another compost container this year, for easier turning of the pile.

    • I have made my own produce bags from a set of sheer curtain panels. They work well at the farmers’ market but not so well any more at the store. I asked my son to pick me up 2 single potatoes when he last went. He returned and before she let me see my purchase apologized and said he looked for ones without packaging. Turns out every potato in the store sold individually was wrapped in aluminum foil. Guess I need to wait a few more months for fresh potatoes now.

  2. Excellent inspiration Lois. Thank you! These are things to consider with all our meal prep: managing portions and reducing food waste. Using smaller dishes is a secret I’ve been using with hubby & me for a while (younger son who’s still at home – 21 – has hollow legs and doesn’t need portion control). And I am quite conscientious of keeping food wastage as close to zero as I can. It is a worthy goal we all need to work towards. Thanks for this great motivation! Cheers, Gina

    • Gina, I had a boy like your son. I have no idea where he put it or why he never gained an ounce. He was the only one on the wrestling team that never had to “make weight”.

      I use that technique of the smaller plates as well. I don’t really have a big appetite so using the smaller plate to judge how much to make helps. I had some food waste yesterday. I forgot to package and freeze some leftover pineapple, so I packaged it and froze it this morning and will feed it to the compost when spring arrives. Not ideal but at least it won’t harm the environment.

  3. Hello Lois, Great post! I hate food waste! I often serve leftovers for a second meal, also freeze them. Lately I’ve been freezing extra portions for an elderly friend who lives by herself and does not always eat enough healthful foods. She is so grateful and it’s an easy thing for me to do.
    Cheers!

    • Carol, how nice of you, I’m sure you friend really appreciates it. I have a neighbor who when she sees me outside in the gardens all day worries about me enough to bring me a plate of food she made for dinner. I appreciate the gesture and enjoy taking a break to visit with her while I eat and knowing I don’t have to cook when I leave the garden and am tired.

  4. Well… hmmm… I’m not sure I like this challenge at all. I generally cook WAY more than I can eat for intentional leftovers because there’s no way I’m cooking 3 meals every day… just not gonna happen. I almost NEVER end up tossing leftovers.

    Although as I write this I realize that I did actually toss some stuff this week, but it was only because I did a bunch of cooking before Sputty died, and then after he went I somehow couldn’t bring myself to eat it because it reminded me that he was no longer here. It makes absolutely no sense, but oh well. Barring any other pets, family members or friends kicking the bucket in the near future, I think I should be safe on that front.

    • Cat, I hate to cook anymore so I do the same, making huge batches. When all I had was a fridge I got so tired of eating the same thing every day to use it up I needed a new solution. Enter the freezer. :-)

      A bit of food waste during the week you lost your Sputty is to be expected, and I know how careful you are about waste normal.

      I thought of you Sunday night as I watched the Super Bowl. All that came to mind was that nothing was going to go right to boost your spirits. I’m sorry about the loss.

      • Oh man… that totally sucked, didn’t it? It was sorta like the die was cast after that first play,,, poor little Mannie Ramirez (the center) I know he just felt terrible.

        But, CatMan’s analysis was that up until that game, Peyton had been able to make up for all of the injuries – seriously, I think we’d lost something like 10 starters. But eventually that’s gonna catch up with you. You just can’t expect to handle that sort of pass rush when you’ve lost several all-pro offensive lineman, and the starters that are still playing are playing through injuries so bad they can barely walk. Oh well, it was a fun season.

        And I’m totally with you on the freezer thing. I learned that trick many years ago – it’s so wonderful to be able to just open the freezer and pull out a meal – like homemade fast food!

        • I felt for Ramirez. I saw an interview with him where he took full blame and said he never heard Peyton call for the snap, when Peyton moved up to change the play it was because the ball hadn’t been snapped and that’s when he thought he heard Peyton and snapped the ball. Obviously a noise issue. I couldn’t get over how many of the fans were from Seattle, it really did sound like a Seattle home game.

          My son was so angry about Denver’s loss because he’s tired of hearing questions of who is the better quarterback, Manning or Brady, he believes Peyton is better by far.

          Hopefully next year will be better for both Denver and my Steelers.

          • I heard Peyton interviewed and he basically took responsibility saying that he should have gone with the silent snap count from the very beginning. Obviously the crowd noise took everyone by surprise.

            So the past two days the local news has been covering some celebrity golf tournament that Peyton’s playing in, and the big story is that he was paired up with Bill Belichick – anyhow, one of the local sports anchors kept calling him “Bill Bellyache.” I thought it was hysterical.

            Well, let’s hope for better luck next year for both of our teams… at least we beat New England! :-)

          • Yup – both to the fact that Peyton is a good guy and that the doctors get to make the decision. I actually think it was built into his contract that way. But given how well he’s done, and how much his arm strength has improved, most folks here are expecting a clean bill of health.

            I think the bigger question mark is Champ Bailey. Champ wants to keep playing, but was hurt most of the season and only got to play a few games near the end. So hopefully they can renegotiate the contract and hopefully Champ’s body will cooperate.

            And… with any luck we’ll get all of our injured players back next year too. Guess we’ll see…

  5. I’ve been irritated since they started putting grapes into bags.There are too many for most people to use before they go bad. I freeze them sometimes, but don’t always want to do that.

    Otherwise, regularly doing a complete inventory of what’s in my fridge has worked best for me in cutting down on waste.

    • Y’all are totally killing me with your grape comments. Here’s a plan… y’all just take all those grapes that you can’t eat and send them to me! Seriously, I buy the biggest bag they’ve got (well, actually, I often buy two or three) and it lasts maybe a day or two.

      Hmmm… maybe I have a grape problem. I have been suffering from serious withdrawal since there haven’t been any organic grapes in the stores for a few months and I have total pesticide paranoia with the conventional ones. I think I need a 12-step grape program!

      • Sorry about that. :-) I haven’t had grapes since summer either as we don’t get organic grapes here ever! I have to go into the city or get lucky enough to find them at the farmers’ market.I can eat about half a bag, in a day but then I’m not eating any other fruits which causes something else to go bad. If I buy raspberries, bananas, grapes, etc. I have to figure out which needs eaten first and hope to eat it all before it goes bad.

        I’m with you on the pesticide paranoia, which is why I am trying to grow as much of my own food as possible now.

  6. Luckily, my husband likes to eat leftovers for his lunch the next day, otherwise, I’d often be wasting food. I struggle to get the right portion size. I either make too much or too little it seems and then the boys are filling up on cereal after dinner. I don’t force them to eat more than they want though. I have too many memories of being last at the table, struggling to finish mushy, overcooked vegetables. Growing your salad greens in the window during winter is a great idea as is freezing your fruit. My stepmother bottled her left over fruit for many years and it was great eating plums and apricots in the middle of winter.

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