5 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Food Waste

In the U.S., about 40% of the food supply is wasted each year; that’s approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food.1 Food is wasted at each part of the food chain, from agricultural production all the way down to final household consumption, but a good percentage of it (~40-50%) is lost at the final step: household consumption.2

Food spoilage, preparing too much, expiration date confusion, overbuying, and poor planning have been cited as the main culprits of household food waste.2 Fortunately, with a bit of planning and a few behavior changes, we can all take steps to reduce food waste, and upon doing so, save money (from buying less food), conserve natural resources, reduce our carbon footprint, and support our local communities! Here are 5 easy ways to reduce food waste while on the Medifast program:

  1. Save & Eat Leftovers: Be mindful of what ingredients you have on hand and leftovers that need to be used up. Designate one night per week as “leftovers” night; it’ll save you time while reducing waste!
  2. Meal Plan. This is a healthy habit that not only helps reduce food waste, but promotes healthy eating throughout the week. Take stock of what ingredients you already have on hand, plan meals that use those ingredients, and then grocery shop. Buy only what you need and/or choose foods that can be preserved if needed (e.g., frozen, pickled, or canned).
  3. Think FIFO (first in, first out): Move foods that need to be eaten up to the front of your refrigerator or pantry, and place new products in the back. This way you’re more likely to use the food item before it expires.
  4. Use it all! Save broccoli stems to make broccoli “noodles” or “rice” (use broccoli rice to make our Broccoli Crust White Pizza!), use leftover vegetable scraps to make a stock, and/or use wilting greens and/or fresh herbs to make homemade pesto (1 Tbsp = 1 healthy fat).
  5. Weigh & measure your portions. This will ensure you’re eating enough (which may help prevent overeating later) but not too much. It’s also a great habit to get into when you’re trying to manage your weight.


  1. https://www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htm
  2. http://www.sustainabletable.org/5664/food-waste