According to NRC data, 40 percent of food in the U.S. gets wasted annually. Think about the half package of bag lettuce that ends up in the garbage. You can start to reduce the amount of food tossed out with these three 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. Soups, casseroles and stir-fry are good ways to use leftover meat, veggies, beans, rice and pasta.

Freeze forgotten foods

Instead of throwing them away, put them in the freezer!

• Hotdog or hamburger buns - make garlic toast

• Bananas - Use frozen bananas in a smoothie bowl with our Dietician Pick of the Month, Performance Inspired Whey Protein.

• Berries

• Deli meat or cheese

• Pasta sauce or tomato paste

Use misfit produce

We all know that many fruits and vegetables do not grow to perfect size, shape and color every time. That leaves up to 6 billion pounds of produce un-harvested or un-shipped every year. The MISFITS program is designed to find a home for this product. It is great quality and flavor, it just may be a little off-sized or misshaped.

• Misshaped fruits and vegetables are just as healthy and delicious as cosmetically acceptable produce.

• They are usually more affordable.

• Some of these items include peppers, cucumbers, squash, apples and tomatoes.

 

Strawberry banana smoothie bowl

2 Servings; Prep Time: 5 min

All you need:

• 1 banana, peeled and frozen

• 1 scoop vanilla bean Performance Inspired Performance Whey Protein

• 1 (5.3-ounce) non-fat Greek vanilla or strawberry yogurt

• 1/2 cup sliced strawberries or other fruit

• 2 tablespoons sliced almonds

• 1 teaspoon chia or hemp seeds

• Additional toppings, as desired

All you do:

• To a blender, add banana, whey protein powder and yogurt. Blend until smooth and pour into 2 bowls.

• Top with sliced strawberries, almonds, chia seeds. Add additional toppings as desired.

Nutrition Facts per serving: 250 calories, 4.5g fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 40mg cholesterol, 90mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 18g sugar, 22g protein.

Daily Values: 0% vitamin A, 45% vitamin C, 15% calcium, 4% iron. Source: Hy-Vee Dietitians

Choose your own toppings:

Pick a fruit:

Banana

Peach

Pineapple

Kiwi

Apple

Berries

 

Boost nutrition:

Chia seeds

Flax seeds

Wheat germ

Whey protein powder

 

Make it crunch:

Nuts

Granola

Coconut flakes

 

-- Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at tshaffer@hy-vee.com