Ways to Avoid Food Waste – Plus Recipes!

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Americans waste about a pound of food per person per day which amounts to about 30-40% of our food supply. We talked with Chef Mike Anderson at Platte Valley Medical Center who gave us some tips for avoiding food waste and also shared a couple of recipes.

Below are the recipes Chef Mike shared with us, along with some of his tips to avoid food waste.

Chef Mike will be hosting a cooking demo as part of the Girls’ Night Out event happening Thursday, September 14th from 5:30 -8:30 p.m. at Platte Valley Medical Center – 1600 Prairie Center Parkway. There will also be a special 9Health Fair at the event where you can receive health screenings and health education. Click here to register.

Tips for Avoiding Food Waste:

  • Use bread ends to make bread crumbs. Grind them up and use on pasta, salads, etc. and save extra in the freezer.


  • Celery – When it starts to wilt cut the ends and soak them in water to bring them back to life
  • Save old bananas in the freezer – can thaw and use in bread and batter
  • Pears – peel and dice them, put them in the freezer, thaw when ready and use in batters such as pancake batter
  • Lettuce and leafy greens – put them in an ice bath, refrigerate for 15 mins – take them out and pat them dry to get another 2-3 days out of them
  • Zucchini – if it starts to soften, trim off any mold or soft spots and can be roasted
  • For any produce that is about to go bad – peel it, cut it and freeze it. Set them out to thaw and use as you normally would when ready.


  • If it starts to mold – trim edges and wrap it in foil – this will reduce spoilage and extend the life of the rest of the cheese


Fruit Salad: 

  • Cut fruits of your choice – we used strawberries, pineapple, grapes, bananas, and blackberries
  • Make dressing for fruit salad:
    • ½ cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice
    • ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice
    • ¼ cup of honey
    • Tablespoon of lemon zest and orange zest
    • Little vanilla extract
    • Combine it all in a bowl and whisk
    • Pour it onto prepared fruit and mix

*Use scraps from fruits such as strawberry tops, pineapple rind, squeezed lemons and oranges in an infused water later – very tasty!

Roasted Vegetable Platter:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Choose roasted vegetables you like and cut them up – about ½ inch pieces. We used zucchini, squash, red pepper, onion and mushroom.
  • Make dressing
    • Pick any store-bought Italian dressing, use ¼ cup
    • ¼ cup of white wine
    • About a tablespoon of Dijon mustard
    • A little bit of salt and pepper
    • Combine all dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk
    • Pour over prepared veggies, toss to combine
  • Put veggies on a cookie sheet and bake 375 for 15 minutes

*Save skins and discards from cutting your vegetables, put it in a bag and store in your freezer to use in vegetable stock.