Did you know that the United State is one of the largest culprits when it comes to generating food waste? Sources estimate that the average American throws away close to 40 percent of their food every year, with food waste being one of the top solid waste categories ending up in landfills throughout the country. We’re going to give you some strategies to combat food waste, but first lets look at the impact of all that thrown out food:
Food waste is more than stale bread and moldy cucumbers; it’s also about $165 billion dollars spent by individuals, businesses, and governments wasted annually. In addition, food waste is also a significant contributor to climate change as it creates enormous amounts of greenhouse gases. Food waste has become such a serious problem in the last decade that the United Nations recently launched a global campaign called Think Eat Save that is designed to help reduce the amount of food being wasted by consumers and businesses.
It might be easy to think that you’re not wasting much food if you’re shopping for yourself or your family, but if you spend a few weeks keeping track of food that ends up in the trash, you’ll quickly realize how much food and money you could save! Here are a few of our favorite strategies to combat food waste that are quick and easy to try:
Combat Food Waste When You’re at the Grocery Store
- When you plan ahead and use a grocery list, you’ll be less likely to buy unnecessary impulse items.
- Only buy what you need. Remember, those special “2 for the price of 1” sales aren’t saving you any money if they end up in the garbage! Buy grains, nuts, and spices from the bulk bins at your grocery store so that you can measure out exactly what you need.
- Buy frozen vegetables and fruits. Frozen produce is just as nutritious, if not more, than their fresh counterparts. The added benefit of frozen is that you can cook exactly what you need, and leave the rest in the freezer for another meal.
Combat Food Waste at Home
- Make a habit of “First In, First Out”. When you’re unpacking groceries, move items that are already in the refrigerator to the front, that way you’ll be reminded to use them as soon as possible.
- Think about what you’re throwing away. If you find that you’re throwing away stale bread or leftovers from dinner every week, start freezing portions to eat at a later time or adjust the amount that you’re buying at the store.
- Check your refrigerator and freezer to make sure they’re set at the correct temperature. Also, keep air-flow in mind when stocking your refrigerator. Trapped cold air can cause items in your refrigerator to freeze! Using these strategies will help to keep food fresh for as long as possible.
- Give new life to produce. Soft fruit such as peaches, strawberries or melons can be used in smoothies and wilting vegetables like celery, kale, or spinach can be made into soups or juice. All of these can also be stored in your freezer for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or lunch.
- Make sure your food is stored properly in the refrigerator and freezer. Not only will this maximize your space, but it will also ensure your food stays fresh and safe to eat for as long as possible.
- Get the facts about shelf life. If you’re wondering how long the fruits and vegetables you buy will last, take a look at our produce shelf life guide. In addition to helping you reduce food waste, this handy guide compares the shelf life of common fruits and vegetables when stored at room temperature, in the refrigerator, and the freezer.
Combat Food Waste during Mealtime
- Reducing your portion sizes is a simple way to eliminate food waste. If you start the meal with smaller servings, you’ll reduce what is thrown away and may find it easier to lose weight!
- If you’re eating out in a restaurant, split a dish with a friend or ask that half of the entree be packaged to take home. You’ll waste less and have lunch for the next day.
- Consider starting a compost pile in your backyard or in a composting container under the kitchen sink. Your plants and garden will love the extra nutrients!
Here at Tommy’s Superfoods, we are seriously committed to combating food waste both in our own kitchen and in yours! Our flash-frozen vegetable medleys can help you cut back on the amount of vegetables you throw away, without sacrificing good taste or quality nutrition.