Whether it is because we went grocery shopping hungry, had more evening events than anticipated, or simply ordered a pizza instead of cooking the food in the fridge, it is likely that we’ve wasted at least some food already this week.

In fact, Americans throw away about 25% of the food they buy and uneaten food counts for about 23% of all methane emissions in the United States, a contributor to climate change.

The King County Food: Too Good to Waste Program is showing us how much food is actually wasted in our county and how we can do better. In a series of web pages and videos, they outline how to shop smart, store food correctly, and in our favorite video, how to love your leftovers.

Although meal planning, shopping lists and proper storage are key tips to keeping uneaten food under control, there are always a few odds and ends at the end of the week that need to be used. Some top tips for using leftovers include:

  • Create an “Eat Now” box for foods that will spoil soon. This will prioritize your use of leftovers.
  • Plan meals around what you need to use, and utilize recipe websites to find ways to use them. allrecipes.com is a Seattle-based site with a great ingredient search tool and filters for specific meals and types of dish (main course, side, etc.) PCCmarkets also has a great website of recipes that can be sorted by dietary restrictions, ingredients and regional fare.
  • Use up odds and ends in casseroles, frittatas, soups, and smoothies.
  • Plan a “Eat Leftovers” night each week and make it a fun family challenge. Consider putting different family members in charge of different ingredients and see what everyone comes up with.