Welcome to “Reducing Food Waste 101”.
Although Americans are “trying” to eat healthy, they are throwing away mountains of produce in the process. A recent study conducted by researchers at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, the University of Vermont and the University of New Hampshire was published in the online journal PLOS One this month.
Findings from the study show that between 2007 and 2014, nearly 150,000 tons of food went into trash cans every day. This translates into one pound of food per person, or about 30 percent of what every American consumes daily.
While we try to clean up our diets by eating more fruits and vegetables, we are actually cleaning out our fridges weekly and depositing more into landfills.
Of 22 food groups studied, fruits, vegetables, and mixed fruit and vegetable dishes (39 percent of the total) were wasted most. Those were followed by dairy (17 percent), and meat and mixed meat dishes (14 percent) wasted.
This also means that cropland was also wasted. Roughly 30 million acres of cropland, 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigation water, 1.8 billion pounds of nitrogen fertilizer, and 780 million pounds of pesticides went into producing food that was thrown away. These are the findings of the study done and this, to me, is embarrassing and sad that we have people hungry in our country and others are excessively disregarding edible foods.
This clearly states that we need to educate ourselves on how to prepare and store perishable fruits and vegetables. We need to know the difference between spoiled produce and ripened and edible produce.
Ways to reduce food waste:
- Make a weekly menu and grocery list before you shop. Only buy the quantity needed for your meals and snacks to avoid waste.
- Wash, prep fruits and veggies, store in portion controlled servings for the week.
- Use leftover veggies to create homemade soups, throw them in salads, omelets or wraps.
- Replace junk food snacks with fruits and vegetables.
- Use excess fruits and veggies in water for flavor.
These are just a few ways to be more mindful of cutting down on food waste. For more tips on reducing food waste visit The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.
As always, be well!
Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Group Lifestyle Balance Coach, Wellness Coach
Source: PLOS One, HealthDay News