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    Mayo Clinic Minute: 3 tips to reduce food waste

Americans threw away roughly 90 billion pounds of food last year. All that waste hits the pocketbook hard.

Kate Zeratsky, a registered dietitian nutritionist with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, offers three tips to cut down on food waste.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads. Read the script.

"Because the average family of four is throwing away [up to] $1,500 worth of food each year," Zeratsky says. "[On] the average, that's like that family throwing a $20 bill in the trash can every week, and no one would ever do that."

Zeratsky says her three tips are meant to be simple changes that can help prevent some of that waste.

First is to make grocery lists and plan meals based on when you have time to cook. She also says you should only buy things you know you will use.

The second tip is about portion control ...

"... and not overeating at any one given time," Zeratsky says. "We're likely to have leftovers, and, if we do, those leftovers may be in our refrigerator for a few days. Take note. If you don't think that you're going to eat those leftovers, package them, date them and put them in the freezer."

Which brings you to Zeratsky's third tip ...

"... maybe a day designated during the week that you'll clean out the fridge and make good use of all that food," she says.

Zeratsky recommends finding creative ways to work leftover foods into new dishes like casseroles, salads or wraps, rather than eating the same meal twice in the same week.