Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wellness Wednesday: Reducing Food Waste

I have mentioned waste and recycling in a previous post, but recently came across another article in the Fresno Bee talking specifically about food waste. UC Merced and several other colleges have received praise by the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts to reduce food waste and increase awareness on the topic.
Source: Schaumburg's Sustainable Future

Food waste is expensive, crowds landfills, and adds to greenhouse gas emissions.  UC Merced composts cafeteria waste and has switched to recyclable food containers as part of its goal to achieve zero net energy consumption by 2020.

Ways you can help reduce food waste:

  • When eating out, order an appetizer or two, choose from the children’s menu, or share an entrĂ©e with a friend. Portion sizes at restaurants are absolutely out of control! This tip not only will help with food waste, but likely the size of your waist. I usually gravitate towards the appetizers on a menu because they just sound better! If you still have leftovers, take them home and enjoy for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner or get creative and incorporate with other ingredients for a whole new meal.
  • Take inventory of your fridge and pantry before grocery shopping. How many times do you come home from the store and struggle to find room in the pantry or refrigerator shelves? Take a cue from those who live in big cities: shop more frequently and only for what you will use for a few days or up to one week. Sure it is a bit more effort but you are more likely to use all of your ingredients before they expire or rot. I like to challenge myself to become more creative in the kitchen by utilizing everything I have to the very last drop, so to speak. Soups and stews are a great way to utilize leftovers and produce that are on their last leg. Overly ripe fruit that has not yet spoiled can be cut up in small bits and then frozen for use in smoothies or frozen yogurt.
  • Similar to the tip above, never grocery shop while hungry! It’s amazing what ends up in your cart when your stomach is growling. It’s likely that these impulse purchases will lead to extra waste/waist.
  • If portion control is an issue for you, eat off of smaller plates/bowls. You are less likely to stuff yourself silly and/or throw the extra bits of food on your plate in the trash.

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