Why and How to Reduce Food Waste in Your Home
April 22 is Earth Day, a yearly reminder to consider how what we do affects the environment around us. What we eat (and don’t eat) matters too. A 2017 study published in the journal Agricultural Systems revealed almost 20% of available food is lost through overeating or waste. We eat around 10% more food than we need and 9% is thrown away or left to spoil.
How can you and your family reduce food waste in your home? Follow these three P’s and you can help make a difference.
Purchasing: Only buy what you need. It may seem like a deal to stock up in bulk, but both your wallet and the environment lose when leftover food is thrown out. Before you put food in your cart, think about how long it will stay fresh and when it will be eaten. “It’s fine to stock up on pantry items like canned beans and whole wheat pasta, but when it comes to fresh produce, fish and other perishables you’re better off buying less and shop more frequently,” explains Jenn LaVardera, MS, RD.
Preparing: After sorting, peeling, trimming and chopping, there tends to be a lot of food—and nutrition—tossed in the trash. Cut down on waste and keep the nutrients on your plate by using the whole plant. Skins are packed with fiber and tend to be the most nutrient-rich parts of plants. Forgo the peeler for apples and potatoes, preserve citrus peels and try pickling watermelon rinds (read more on Nature’s Packaging). You can also mix and match between meals. “If you’re like me, you make a big family meal every Sunday, and you usually have leftover fruits and vegetables,” says Dole’s Chef Mark Allison. “Look at your leftovers and see what you can use for a meal later in the week. Roasted vegetables make fabulous additions to salads or can be turned into vegetable lasagna or used for taco or enchilada fillings. Leftover fruits can be added to muesli, yogurt or porridge to start your day with nutritious foods.”
Portioning: Reduce plate waste by controlling the portions on your plate. “We tend to over-serve ourselves foods like pasta and rice and these scraps end up in the trash,” says LaVardera. “In general, Americans are overeating animal proteins, which require huge amounts of energy to produce.” Serve yourself proper portions of food (stay tuned for more in May!) and store the leftover in the fridge. Cut down on animal proteins by eating more beans, legumes and vegetarian dishes.
Celebrate Earth Day by bring our Niçoise Salad Jars on a spring picnic outside!
Published April 1, 2017