If you're thinking about tossing out that last serving of leftovers or the unused part of a lettuce head, think again.
We waste some 40 percent of the food made here in the United States, according to the USDA.
But it doesn't have to be this way. For food author Beth Dooley, a lot of food waste can be avoided with just a little imagination.
She joined All Things Considered host Tom Crann to share some tips on avoiding food waste:
• If you need small amounts of assorted vegetables for a stir-fry or sauce, hit the salad bar at your grocer instead of buying a whole head of cabbage or a huge cauliflower.
• Eat the whole vegetable — broccoli stems, cauliflower ends, all of the carrot, etc. And if you buy organic potatoes, the peels make terrific oven fries.
• Think of leftovers as make-overs. For example, make a roast chicken and have curry one night, chicken tacos the second, chicken pasta with lemon the third. Look for interesting prepared sauces to save time.
• Freeze leftovers (even the odds and ends of vegetables for stocks).
• Shop more frequently, if possible, and avoid huge family packs of perishables.
• When it comes to "sell by" or "use by" dates, use your common sense. You'll typically know if milk, meat, chicken and fish have spoiled by their smell. Same with vegetables. Pitch out anything that has mold, is slimy, or just doesn't look right.
Use the audio player above to hear Dooley's full conversation with Crann.