How you can Reduce Food Waste and Improve your Community
March is National Nutrition Month and of course, I have asked the Greeley mayor to declare it! The theme is “Go Further with Food”. From my perspective this means educating people about the importance of making informed food choices and developing healthy eating habits. Whether it’s starting the day off right with a balanced breakfast or fueling yourself to get through the work day with a packed lunch, the foods you choose can make a real difference locally. Preparing your foods to go further by planning meals and snacks in advance can help reduce food loss and waste.
Going “further with foods” is important for our community. Right now, one in five people in Weld County are going without food today and one in four children are struggling with the effects of hunger (cited Weld County Food website). While many families in Northern Colorado worry about how to feed their families, the amount of safe food wasted in the United States is on the rise! Yikes! So what can you do about it?
How You Can Make a Difference
Donate. Consider donating to the local food bank. For every dollar you donate, Weld Food Bank will provide five meals to those in need. Never going to eat that can of soup you bought? Take it to the food bank before it expires.
Plan ahead. Think about the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store. Plan your meals around ingredients you already have! You can even take a “shelfie” picture of shelves in your pantry or refrigerator to remind you what you have while shopping.
Don’t go overboard. Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan to use leftovers later in the week.
Make sure you actually eat your leftovers. Incorporate leftovers into other meals during the week. Freeze casseroles, chili or soups to have on hand for days when you don’t feel like cooking or you have a busy schedule. Many other foods can also be frozen such as meats, breads, cheese, milk and butter. Actually bring your TUPPERWARE.
Use it all. When cooking, use all of whatever food you’re cooking with, whenever possible. For example, leave the skin on apples and potatoes, sauté broccoli and cauliflower stems along with the florets. Skins and stems often have provide extra nutrition for bonus points.
Practice “First In, First Out”. Move the older groceries to the front of the refrigerator/freezer/pantry so you don’t forget to use them.
Be mindful and realistic about your portion sizes. If a recipe calls for two carrots, don’t buy a giant bag just because it’s on sale. Eat and drink the amount that is right for you.
Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.