Here’s something to think about the next time you sit down for a meal:
The total amount of food waste we generate each year is more than enough to end the hunger and starvation faced by nearly 1 billion people around the globe.
Pretty shocking, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, the United States is one of the largest culprits when it comes to throwing away food.
It is estimated that Americans throw away close to 40 percent of our food every year. That food waste is one of the largest solid waste components in landfills. Feeding America, a hunger relief organization reports that $218 billion worth of food is thrown away each year.
The solution to world hunger and the mountain of food waste our country generates isn’t about over-stuffing yourself to finish every bite on your plate; but cutting back on the amount of food waste your family generates. This isn’t difficult. In fact, it’s so simple we decided to offer a list of tips and strategies you can use to help reduce food waste – and maybe help another person who is facing food insecurity.
How You Can Help Stop Food Waste
1. Be a smart shopper.
Plan your weekly meals, use a grocery list, and don’t buy on impulse. Buy only what you need and wait until you need to re-stock kitchen items before buying more.
When you’re in the supermarket, choose a smaller shopping cart or hand basket to avoid buying too much.
2. Buy “ugly” produce.
Some stores have started to stock “misshapen” (but perfectly edible) fruits and vegetables to cut back on food waste. Support these initiatives by purchasing produce that doesn’t quite conform to the way people think they “should” look.
3. Pay attention to what you’re throwing away.
Are you throwing away stale muffins, bagels or bread every week? If you can’t buy less, freeze half right away. You’ll not only cut back on food waste, but you’ll be saving money on your next grocery trip.
4. Eat your leftovers.
Don’t let that leftover casserole or salad turn to mold in the back of your refrigerator! Pack it up for lunch or place in the freezer in an airtight container for reheating later in the week when you’re running short on time.
5. Store food properly.
Are you regularly throwing away stale crackers, cereal or snacks? Make sure you’re storing them in airtight containers or plastic bags to keep them crisp and fresh. Keeping food fresh is another great way to cut back on food waste and save money on your grocery bill!
6. Use those fresh fruits and veggies.
Soft fruit can be chopped and blended into smoothies, and green vegetables that are starting to wilt are perfect to use for soups, pasta or rice dishes.
7. Donate what you know you can’t use.
Do you have unopened canned or boxed goods that have been sitting in your pantry? Donate these staples to a food pantry or soup kitchen before they expire so they can be used to help feed someone who would otherwise go hungry.
8. Properly store your food in the freezer.
If you store products properly, they’ll last longer and taste better. Read our recent blog post for tips on how to safely freeze your leftovers.
9. Go frozen.
If you know you have a hard time using fresh produce before it turns to mush, buy frozen vegetables and fruits. Frozen produce is just as nutritious, if not more so, than their fresh counterparts. You cut down on food waste because you only cook what you need, and leave the rest in the freezer for another day.
10. Opt for a to-go container.
When eating out at a restaurant, share a dish with a friend or ask for a container to take home the leftovers for lunch the next day.
11. When serving meals at home, use smaller plates and dishes.
Did you know that by using a smaller plate you’ll not only eat less (helpful for losing weight), but you’ll also throw less food away? Give it a try, and you’ll be surprised how much less food goes into the trash.
Tommy’s Superfoods is Committed to Helping Stop Food Waste
Here at Tommy’s Superfoods, we are seriously committed to combating food waste both in our kitchen and in yours! Our flash-frozen vegetable medleys can help you cut back on the vegetables you throw away, without sacrificing good taste or quality nutrition.
What are you and your family doing to eat more wisely? If you have tips for reducing food waste, share them with us in the comments section or on social media. We look forward to hearing from you!