This week’s “ReNew You” Challenge is about cutting down on wastefulness. It’s estimated that we waste about 27 percent of food in the U.S. That’s nearly 1/3! Yikes!

Next time you go out to eat, take a look at all the food that gets tossed. That doesn’t even include the food that was wasted during the preparation and processing of the many foods that eventually reach our tables.

A recent study suggests that decreasing the amount of food wasted is a great way to conserve energy. Food production consumed between eight to 16 percent of energy production in 2007, so just imagine what being conservative in the kitchen could mean to whittling down energy use!

So this week, get creative. When you shop for ingredients to prepare your meals, think about how much you are REALLY going to eat. (Or should be eating). By planning better, you can avoid leftovers that get tossed, and reduce the human energy needed to prepare it and dispose of it as well. Here are some tips: Prepare larger meals and freeze a portion, or make smaller meals that you know will be eaten. When you go out to eat, share a dish if you think you won’t be able to finish it, or choose an appetizer instead. Most restaurants offer at least double the portions you’re body really needs. Start to notice when you are wasting food and try to come up with creative ways to reduce that waste. Maybe it’s time to start composting your vegetable scraps and egg shells as well? It’s good for your garden, and great for the planet.