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Reducing food waste

No one wants to waste food; especially at a time when food budgets are tight.

Last week, I had 2 pounds of chicken breast that was on the verge of going bad. Fresh poultry, fish and ground meats have a shorter refrigerator shelf life then many other foods. According to the USDA, fresh chicken should be cooked or frozen after 1-2 days in the refrigerator, in order to keep it from spoiling or becoming dangerous to eat. Cooked chicken can be kept for 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

My chicken had been in the refrigerator for 2 days so I needed to cook it or put it in the freezer so that it wouldn't go to waste. The problem was that it didn't fit into the meals I had planned for the next couple of days. I was pressed for time that evening, so I cooked and shredded it and put it back in the refrigerator. The next day, I made chicken salad (recipe below) for our lunches. I've also used shredded chicken to top omelets, add to salads, and reheat in barbeque sauce for a quick sandwich.

This is what I do to reduce food waste and help make sure my family has safe, healthy food to eat:

  • Visit USDA's site or use their mobile app, "FoodKeeper" to determine save food storage and handling practices.

  • Every couple of days, I do a quick scan of my refrigerator contents to see if there are foods that need to be used up.

  • I prepare the foods that need to be eaten or I put them in the freezer.

Instead of wasting 2 pounds of chicken, our family had tasty, nutritious lunches for 2 days. I hope you can use some of these strategies and I'd love to hear about your own experiences at or on my Facebook page, Nourish.Energize.Embrace.

Stay safe and healthy,


PS--Here's my recipe for chicken salad:

Chicken Salad


  • 1# cooked chicken breast, shredded—about 2 cups

  • ½ cup mayonnaise

  • ½ cup finely chopped celery

  • 2 Tbsp dried minced onion

  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper


  • Stir together chicken, mayonnaise, celery, dried onion, and pepper in mixing bowl until mayonnaise is evenly distributed.

  • Enjoy!

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