Make more, waste less: The keys to meal planning

Published 6:16 am Saturday, March 30, 2019

Do you ever look in your pantry or refrigerator and think: “Where did that come from?” Then you look at the product and notice there is no way you can use that in a meal. Proper meal planning, along with utilizing what’s in your house before it goes bad, is an important way to decrease food waste.

Did you know that, on average, each American is throwing away 20 pounds of food waste per month? An important way to decrease this is by creating a meal plan for your family to follow. You can start with these easy steps.

Long live leftovers:  Leftovers are a great way to use foods in your fridge that otherwise would go to waste. Try to plan one meal per week that involves leftovers. Here’s an example: Take leftover chicken breast from dinner earlier this week, combine it with pasta from the fridge and sautéed zucchini and mushrooms that were on their last leg. This will be a quick and easy meal your whole family will enjoy.

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Freeze forgotten foods: Sometimes foods we fully intend on using can get pushed back in our fridge, and when we find them again, they’re one day from going in the trash. Instead of throwing them away, put them in the freezer! This can include things like hotdog or hamburger buns, bananas, berries, spinach and other greens.

Save scraps: Every piece of our foods is something we can make use of. Combining vegetable scraps or chicken bones with water and herbs can create a fantastic vegetable broth that you can use to create soup for your family. Scraps can also be turned into compost for your garden!

Decreasing food waste can be a fun way for you and your family to get creative with what meals you make for dinner. Leftovers are perfect ingredients for soups.  Gather up some leftovers to create the recipe below.

Sheet Pan Tilapia

Sheet Pan Tilapia

Serves 3

What you need

  • 3 tilapia fillets, thawed if frozen
  • 1 tbsp Hy-Vee unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Tone’s cilantro lime seasoning
  • 2 c. Fresh green beans, trimmed
  • 1 c. Yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved

What you do

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a foil-lined baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
  2. Pat tilapia dry with paper towels. In a small bowl, mix together butter, lemon juice, and cilantro lime seasoning; brush onto fish.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine green beans, tomatoes, lemon slices, olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss to coat. Place coated vegetables around fish on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until fish easily flakes with a fork (145 degrees) and vegetables are crisp-tender. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 330 calories, 12g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 125mg sodium, 8g total carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g sugar, 47g protein.

Daily Values: 20% Potassium, 35% vitamin D, 4% calcium, 10% iron

Source: Hy-Vee Seasons

This information is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.