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Who wastes the most food? We do!

Who’s the biggest culprit when it comes to wasted food? Restaurants? Farmers? Schools? Hospitals? Supermarkets?

No, the biggest offender when it comes to wasting food in the United States is the typical American consumer. About 44 percent of the wasted food in the United States is attributed to what is not eaten and thrown out in our own homes.

What are we doing wrong?

  • We buy too much.
  • We cook too much.
  • We don’t store food properly.
  • We don’t understand what the dates on foods mean.
  • We throw out food that could be saved, stored and eaten.

The impact

When food is wasted it impacts many facets of our environment.

Greenhouse gases: Wasted food goes into the trash which typically goes into landfills. Landfills emit methane gas, a greenhouse gas that is bad for the environment.

Hunger in America: Wasted food could be going to those who are hungry.

Money and resources: When we waste food, we are wasting money as well as such valuable resources as water.

Make a difference

How can you help reduce wasted food in your home? Here are some tips.

  • “Buy enough to fill you — not a landfill, ” recommends David Grotto, senior nutrition marketing business partner at Kellogg Specialties and author of “101 Optimal Life Foods: 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life” and “The Best Things You Can Eat.”  Grotto and his family often make a “garbage soup,” using leftover vegetables from the week’s meals.
  • “Buy less, waste less,” advises Leslie Bonci a sports dietitian. Bonci cuts up stems of broccoli and uses them in a frittata. (I like to give them to my dogs!)
  • “Think before you toss,” says Dayle Hayes, president of Nutrition for the Future. If fruits are starting to get overripe, he says, cut them up and freeze them for a smoothie. 
  • “Before you toss it, check it,” writes Patricia Bannan, a nutrition and health communications expert and author of “Eat Right When Time Is Tight.” Confused about the dates on food and not sure if your food is still safe to eat? Try looking it up on Still Tasty:

The bottom line

What are some ways that you try to reduce food waste in your home? Let me know! Email me at

Talk to Leah

Leah McGrath is the corporate dietitian for Ingles Markets. Follow her @InglesDietitian. Contact her at, 800-334-4936 or at