According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 40 percent of all edible food produced in the United States goes uneaten!
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service reports that the U.S. spends more than $162 billion to grow, process and transport food that is never eaten, costing the average family of four $1,500 every year. In the process, fresh water, energy, land, labor and money are invested into food that is never sold, leading to greenhouse gas emissions as food decays in landfills.
You can help reduce food waste, saving you and the country money every year. Here are four simple habits you can easily employ to reduce food waste:
- Before you go to the grocery store, check your refrigerator. Lots of times you can whip something up with the food in the fridge. Take, for example, those veggies or leafy greens that are a little weepy or starting to pucker – slice ’em up, sauté them in a little olive oil (with onion and garlic if preferred) and add them to eggs, brown rice or quinoa.
- Make the most of leftovers. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers right away to avoid contamination. Remember: The best lunch is leftover dinner! Avoid eating foods that have been left out for more than two hours – or even one hour during warmer temperatures, like a summer day BBQ.
- Freeze leftovers that you don’t plan to eat within a few days. Use freezer wrap, freezer bags, or airtight containers when planning to freeze food. Since I never remember what i froze or when froze it – I make sure I label and date leftovers. Let’s face it, everything looks the same once it goes into the freezer!
- Another way to reduce waste is to learn what the dates on the food packages mean: The “sell by” date tells the store when the product should be sold or removed from the shelf for inventory control purposes. The “best if used by” date refers to the date recommended that you use the product by for best physical and/or sensory quality. It is not an expiration date. Neither date reflects a product’s safety, but some people think that’s so and throw away perfectly good food. Of course if you have any doubts about a food’s safety, don’t eat it!
Food waste is a huge problem in the United States, but you can help out and in doing so cut grocery costs at the same time! If you want to learn more about food safety, food labels or food planning, feel free to reach out to me and Book an Appointment.