This year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is celebrating National Nutrition Month by promoting its mission: Go further with Food, an effort to reduce food waste.
What is food waste?
Definition of food waste is: food that is discarded or lost uneaten. The causes of food waste or loss are numerous, and occur at the stages of production, processing, retailing and consumption.
Let's dive right into ways you can waste less food today!
Only discard the weird piece, not the whole thing.
You know the parts of the lettuce that look less lively than the rest or maybe the spot on the tomato you really don't want to have in your perfect instagram food pic? These imperfections may lead to tossing out the whole fruit or veggie when instead you could just cut out that portion and keep the rest.
Another tactic is to practice safe storage!
When you open something, date it with a black sharpie marker so you know how old it actually is. If you're anything like me, physically writing something with pen or marker makes you more likely to remember. I date things like open boxes of broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, tahini, curry paste. Many of the culinary items I use to make my meal prep go from meh to YEA! I label so that I don't end up throwing away an entire jar of something when I only used a serving.
Buy in bulk but only what you need is another tip I recommend to reduce food waste. When you walk into the amazing bulk section of Whole Foods or Sprouts its tempting to start loading up those bags ( Organic rolled oats for 0.99 a pound? yes please!). While these items don't necessarily go bad, you may over buy and it ends up getting "lost" in your pantry. Months later, you find a few random bags of oats and without thinking they end up in the trash. So I recommend buying what you typically use in a week or 2 weeks max. Or you can always date and label the items.
Also, storing food items in glass jars may be more enticing for you to use. Amazon has plenty of glass jars at great prices but stores like Ace Hardware do as well! That's where I bought my mason jars which I use for overnight oats and storing things like flax seed.
Which reminds me...
Properly storing your food keeps it fresher longer.
Those humidifier drawers in your fridge may actually be legit so use them! Store the fruits and more delicate items in one drawer: kiwis, berries, bell peppers, avocados; and the hardier items like cauliflower heads, carrots etc in the other drawer.
Please please please, don't let your produce go to waste!
I get it, it happens. I'm not perfect either! But this is nutrition at its peak and the less produce you eat, the more that goes to waste. I don't care what diet you follow fruits and vegetables are always included. So whatever you buy, purchase it mindfully. If you aren't going to use your produce either stash it in the freezer or bring it to work and give it to a co-worker you like.
"Hey, Fran. I have these kiwis. I'm not eating them fast enough so here you go."
What does that mean?
Well let's say you are SO excited to start this new diet. You heard about it on Instagram and it comes with a grocery list and you're all excited ready to jump on this diet train!
You buy ALL OF THE THINGS and then...
Your motivation comes to a screeching halt, that diet is WAY too restrictive, and you got invited to go out to eat with friends a few times, didn't have time to cook and all that delicious produce goes to waste.
So, if your shopping just think realistically. Even if you are trying to change your lifestyle and your goal is to eat more veggies, buy sensibly. I recommend starting with frozen veggies. They are JUST as nutritious as the non-frozen ones and you're less likely to waste them.
So let's recap!
How can you waste less food today?
1. Only cut off the portions of the food that are blemished and keep the rest.
2. Label and date any containers you open
3. Buy in bulk but only what you will need (label that too!)
4. Store your food properly
5. Donate items you don't think you'll realistically use before they spoil
6. Set realistic diet goals and ease into eating more fruits and veggies (buy frozen items first if you are brand new to eating veggies)
Interested in Nutrition Counseling? Send me a message here! Let's get you on the way to health, no diets here, just what actually works for you in the long term!