Using the food we have instead of wasting it is the key to taking your food further this month
Have you found yourself throwing away food more often than you like? We all know that we could use a little bit more work on cutting down food waste in the home. Luckily for us, March is National Nutrition Month. The theme for this year’s Nutrition Month is “Go Further with Food”. This theme is broad enough that we can go the distance with interpretations of it.
The theme specifically highlights how our usage of food not only impacts our health but also affects our community as a whole. From looking at how to start the day off properly with a nutrient enriched breakfast to looking at how to adapt your diet to fit your exercise regimen, this theme can be applied almost anywhere.
Ultimately, this theme encourages us to look at how to cut back on food waste and “go further with our food”. We’ll look at three different ways we can start evaluating taking our food further from this month onward.
1) Plan out your meals.
Before you go shopping for food, check your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry for foods that need to be used up. This can help aid you in the shopping process if you need to buy more ingredients. It is recommended that you only buy fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy products that can be eaten within a few days. One thing to help you figure out which ones to buy is to make a list of likes and dislikes. This will help make sure you don’t buy something that won’t be eaten immediately. If you aren’t a fast eater when it comes to produce, invest in buying more frozen fruits and veggies. They will be ready to use quickly and keep longer. This will help cut down on food waste.
2) Start checking the dates on food labels.
Many dates on food packages refer to the food’s quality, not food safety. Easily find out if it is time to toss foods by using the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ “Is My Food Safe” app or accessing the USDA’s FoodKeeper App online.
3) Think outside of the box with leftovers.
Do you have a bunch of leftovers in your fridge? Start making plans to use leftover meats and vegetables in soups, salads, or sandwiches later in the week. Leftovers are considered the number one source of edible food waste in the United States today. Do you have produce that may or may not past its prime? You can throw them into soups, casseroles, baked goods, and smoothies. Search for websites that provide suggestions for using leftover ingredients.