Less wasted food means less habitat destruction in the name of agriculture. And that’s exactly why a team from the World Wildlife Fund spent months studying notoriously wasteful catering practices at hotels. But their findings don’t just benefit the hospitality industry—here at EatOrToss, we’ve read their report and pulled out some tips for your own kitchen. Do it for the pandas!
1. Remember that yesterday’s leftovers can become today’s favorite dish. At one of the hotels WWF studied, a legendary and highly popular dessert was essentially a bread pudding made with a mash-up of pastries from the day before.
2. Choose fruits and vegetables that rank high on efficiency. WWF evaluated various types of produce based on how much of the fruit or vegetable could be used. Top scorers were greens and squashes (you can use the seeds and skin!). Artichokes and lima beans got low marks because their tough exteriors were hard to repurpose.
3. Use the same ingredient in multiple meals. This doesn’t have to mean redundant dishes! If you make sausage for dinner one night, the extras can be a pizza topping the next night.
4. Make an advance plan for edible prep waste. For example, when you buy parsley at the store, think about a use for the stems before you get in line to check out, not, say, after you’ve used the leaves and two weeks have gone by. (Here’s an easy way to use stems! Parsley stems are also great chopped fine and used to top salads; you can also use parsley as the main ingredient in this salad.)
5. Reduce plate size and shrink serving utensils. Too-big dishes and spoons trick us into taking more than we need.
6. Rethink the perfect chop. WWF found that trying to achieve perfect butternut squash cubes leads to a lot of waste.
7. Evaluate. Review your food supplies on a regular basis, let’s say, monthly. Use or donate things you have been ignoring. Keep track of what items most often go bad before you get to them and buy those in smaller amounts or not at all.