Food Waste 101: Tips to Reduce Food Waste
The USDA has made food waste reduction a priority this year, but for this to take place at a national level, it needs to begin with individual actions at the local level. Food is wasted in many ways such as through buying too much, making too much, or letting fresh food go bad. It is estimated that approximately one-third of all food produced goes uneaten or wasted. Not only is this a waste of money, but emissions from rotting food in landfills increase methane emissions. In other words, throwing out food contributes to climate change.
Here are some steps you can take at home to reduce food waste:
- Use up what you have at home before you decide to head to the grocery store. Get creative with your cooking and find new recipes to use up food.
- Big packs are not money savers if you end up throwing away half the product.
- Don’t be a perfectionist. Don’t be afraid to buy slightly imperfect or “ugly” fruits and veggies. Some larger chain supermarkets have “ugly fruit” programs.
- Meal plan and only buy what you need.
- Only take what you plan to eat at a meal or eat leftovers.
- Learn proper food storage techniques.
- Freeze extras.
- Make a vegetable stock or soup to use up fresh produce.
- Compost veggie and fruit scraps along with egg shells, coffee grinds, tea bags, stale bread, grains, and old spices.
- Donate extra food to a food pantry or food drive.
- Learn what labels mean – understand the difference between “best if used by/before, sell-by, use-by, and expiration” dates.
- Try canning or pickling food.
Nutrition- in-the-News: Climate Change & Nutrient Availability
Source: International Food Policy Research Institute
Most people are noticing extreme weather swings which global scientists point to as a sign of climate change. However, beyond the weather swings, climate change is also impacting nutrient availability in our food supply. Climate change in particular affects the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. As the amount of CO2 increases, scientists anticipate this will affect nutrient availability in crops specifically protein, iron, and zinc over the next 30 years. Wheat, rice, barley, potatoes, soybeans, and many vegetables all stand to suffer a nutrient loss of 3% by the year 2050. Technology can add back in these nutrients but at the risk of increasing its carbon footprint. Nutrient reduction is expected to hardest hit areas that are already undernourished with low-middle incomes that rely heavily on these kinds of crops. Researchers will next need to study nutrient availability in livestock which are fed by these crops. In the meantime, take a proactive approach and do what you can at a local and state level to reduce your carbon footprint primarily through your diet and lifestyle.
Katina Sayers is the owner/operator of Katina’s Nutritional Coaching Corner. She has an extensive background in health and education that began with degrees in exercise physiology, health and physical education, community health, and culminating with a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction. She completed an advanced certificate of study in Integrative Nutrition and Health Coaching from the renowned Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) in New York City. For the last four years, she has worked one-on-one with clients, presented a multitude of nutrition topics for large and small audiences, contracted with businesses to implement worksite wellness initiatives, and currently manages day-to-day food service operations at a local non-profit agency, as well as directs activities related to nutrition and health. Katina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.