When was the last time you ate everything off your dinner plate? For Earth Day this year, take a closer look at what you eat – and what you have left over – to help preserve the environment.
Each year, humans waste about one third of the food produced for consumption, or 1.3 billion tons, according to the United Nations Environmental Program. Americans alone throw out $48.3 billion, or 30 percent, of our food annually.
Rotting food in landfills creates methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change, according to the UNEP. When food goes uneaten, farms waste the water, energy and land that went into producing it.
There are small changes you can make to consume food consciously. Here are three recipes, adapted from Real Simple and Eating Well, to give you ideas for how to use leftovers before they end up in the garbage.
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Cucumber Hummus Appetizers: Use that half-empty container of hummus you have lying around in your fridge, plus the cucumber you bought for a salad three days ago. You can also mix things up with other kinds of spreads and veggies. If you have some Nutella and walnuts in you baking cabinet, try them on toasted bread.
Veggie Quesadillas: If you didn’t finish last night’s side of vegetables, you can repurpose them into veggie quesadillas. Use a mix of mushrooms, onions and cheese, or just combine the produce and cheese you have on hand.
Pasta Dinner: Get creative with last night's pasta dinner. For breakfast, mix leftover spaghetti with eggs, milk and spices to make a hearty frittata.