Saba Zahid, RD, LDN
Patient Experience Manager
Did you know that 40% of the food produced in America is thrown away? That amounts to 300 pounds of food per person. All that food adds up to over $160 billion dollars going into the trash. In addition to the financial aspect, food waste also has an impact on the environment. Food waste makes up 20% of landfills. Moreover, as the food decays, it releases methane gas – a greenhouse gas.
The good news is that there are a myriad of things that we can do to help stop food waste. Here are a few simple things you can do stop food waste at home:
- Check to see what you already have before you go shopping. Before you head to the grocery store, check to see what you already have in the pantry and refrigerator. This way you can incorporate those items into your meal plan for the week and you only buy things that you don’t have.
- Only buy what you need. While a sale or good deal can be quite alluring, if you aren’t going to use what you buy and you throw it out, the sale price didn’t do you any good. Same goes for bulk items. If you can’t finish the big box of strawberries and have to throw it out, you just end up throwing money away. In the long run, you will save more money by buying food in smaller quantities that you will be able to fully use.
- Don’t ugly-shame produce. Just because your tomatoes or strawberries don’t “look pretty”, are misshapen, or are fused together doesn’t mean that they aren’t good to eat. So don’t throw out your produce because it doesn’t look like a stock photo online. There are actually several online markets that sell just “ugly” produce because most stores won’t accept produce if it doesn’t look a certain way (which also contributes to the overall food waste problem). Check out online markets like Misfit Markets to order “ugly” produce online.
- Utilize the freezer. Made a little too much and don’t feel like having pasta four nights in a row to finish it all? Freeze a couple of portions before it goes bad. This way you don’t waste food and you’ll have some meals ready for a busy week when you may not have time to do a lot of cooking.
- Cook from Root to Stem. Many of us don’t utilize our vegetables to the fullest potential. For example, many of us just use the florets of broccoli and toss the stalks away. But broccoli stalks are great to use when making soups or broths. Carrots are another great example of vegetable that can better utilized. The carrot tops can be used in a salad or to make a pesto while any carrot peelings can be tossed into some water with other veggie scraps to make some homemade veggie stock.
Check out the recipe below. More recipes are available here.
Recipe: Fennel Salad with Carrot Tops (Makes 12 servings)
- 1 cup Red onions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup Radishes, shaved
- 1 cup Carrot tops, chopped
- 1 cup Fennel bulb, raw, thinly sliced
Thinly slice onions, shave the radishes and fennel bulb, and finely chop the fennel fronds and carrot tops. Place all veggies except for fennel fronds and carrot tops in a bowl. Heat the white wine vinegar, sugar and pepper flakes to a boil and pour over the vegetables. Allow to cool to room temp then stir in the fronds and carrot tops. Drain the excess liquid and plate salad.