What's For Dinner?

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.
Cook Once, Eat All Week
7-Day Dinner Plan
From Eating Well magazine.
Taste of Home
Start with a big batch of one ingredient.
Rachael Ray's Week in a Day
Recipes from the Food Network show.
Meal Planning and Grocery List Apps
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.
Share your grocery list with your family. Option for meal planning and to import recipes from the web.
Epicurious Weekly Meal Plans
What to cook this week.
Cooking Light's ThePrep
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.
Five Weeknight Dishes
Sign up for a weekly email from the New York Times.
Serious Eats
Recipes and inspiration.
Save The Food
Tips for reducing food waste at home.
Love Your Leftovers
Use these tips to avoid wasted food this Thanksgiving.

forkUse leftovers as ingredients for future meals.
The internet abounds with recipes that use leftovers. And it’s not just turkey. Make waffles out of leftover stuffing, add cranberry sauce to a grilled cheese sandwich or to replace the jelly in a PB&J. You can also use up extra vegetables by tucking them into a turkey pot pie.

Send your guests home with a snack for later.
If you think you have more than you can eat over the next few days, pack up leftovers for your guests in reusable containers like empty yogurt and dairy tubs.
Let us help!
We'll send you a free meal planning notepad.
Request a notepadarrow
What's for Dinner?

Plan your meals to help reduce the amount of edible food thrown in the garbage.

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.

A simple way to waste less food is to plan meals ahead of time and shop for groceries with a list. If that's easier said than done, we can help you get started.

Learn more and find meal planning tips

Request a free meal planning note pad
Weekly meal planner
Print your own meal planning sheet.

View and Printarrow
Shop local
Find a local farmers market, farm stand or CSA.

Local Opportunitiesarrow
Produce Storage Tips
Should it go in the fridge or on the counter? Make your fresh produce last longer by storing in the right place.
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.)