What's For Dinner?

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Each week, the average Pierce County household throws away three pounds of edible food. Multiply that by all of the households in the county and it quickly adds up to 15,000 tons of wasted food going to the landfill every year. (Source: Pierce County Waste Trends Analysis data)
Meal Planning: Your Secret Weapon
You can waste less food by planning ahead and following a few simple steps.
  1. Check your schedule
    How many dinners will you cook at home this week? Don't overplan—be realistic.
  2. Write down meal ideas
    What sounds good? Ask your family to help you with suggestions.
    Request a free notepad or Print a blank meal planning sheet
  3. Make a shopping list
    Write down what you need. Remember to "shop" in your own kitchen first.
  4. Take your list shopping
    Don't forget to bring your list with you to the grocery store!
These links will help you get started with meal planning. They are not endorsements for any specific websites or products.
Meal Planning Apps
Mealime
Customized meal plans, recipes and shopping lists all in one place. Great for learning how to cook.
Big Oven
Organize and share your own recipes, plan meals and create a shopping list.
Eat This Much
Enter diet goals and favorite foods for personalized meal plans and shopping lists.
Handpick
Plan your meals using ingredients you already have on hand.
Websites
Cooking Light's Sunday Strategist
A week's worth of dinner plans.
Meal Plans From The Kitchn
Meal Plans include recipes, a shopping list and a plan for cooking it all.
Serious Eats
Recipes and inspiration.
Save The Food
Tips for reducing food waste at home.
Share Your Story
How do you decide what's for dinner?
What magazines, recipe books, websites or apps do you recommend?
How could we help you?

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Let us help!
We'll send you a free meal planning notepad.
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Weekly meal planner
Print your own meal planning sheet.

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Anyone Can be a Meal Planner
Try some of these strategies if you struggle with planning meals. No expert organizational skills required!
I'm too busy
If finding time to shop is difficult, consider ordering groceries or meal kits online and having them delivered to your home (but see our note about meal kits below).

An unpredictable schedule can make it hard to plan. Start with just one or two meals a week. That way, ingredients won’t go uneaten and spoil in your refrigerator.



I don't like leftovers
Leftovers are great for lunch the next day, but not everyone likes them, and some recipes make too many servings.

There are online recipes and meal planning apps that allow you to adjust the recipe for the number of servings.

You can also try making things that mix and match with different ingredients. A roasted chicken can be used later in tacos or soup.

I don't like to cook
Not everyone enjoys being in the kitchen. The trick is getting in and out as quickly as possible!

Look for recipes that can be made in 30 minutes or less and rely on just a few ingredients.

A lot of edible food that is wasted is from forgotten takeout containers and leftovers. Keep those containers front and center in your refrigerator so you’ll remember to eat them.
I don't know what I want
If planning specific meals ahead of time just isn’t your thing, it may help to keep your kitchen stocked with things you can use to put together different meals.

Keep cans of beans and tomatoes and boxes of pasta and grains in your pantry. Freeze meat to keep it until you are ready to use it, and stock your refrigerator with versatile fresh ingredients like lemons, limes, garlic, ginger and parsley.
Recycling reminder: Meal kits can help you learn to cook and take the hassle out of shopping. Please be aware that the ingredients are usually packaged in plastic bags, wrap and containers that are not accepted in our curbside recycling program (regardless of what it says on the packaging.)