Insider’s Viewpoint: Impact Your Wallet, Your Waistline, and the Environment by Reducing Food Waste
National Nutrition Month® is a time to celebrate, educate, and spread the word about nutrition, health, and the role of the Registered Dietitian in connecting the two. This year, the theme “Go Further with Food” is all about right-sizing the amounts of foods we buy and eat, both to maintain a healthy weight and a balanced diet, but also to reduce food waste across our country. Food waste negatively impacts consumer wallets, the environment, and negates the opportunity to consume maximum nutrition for many Americans-and it’s no small problem, either. Recent estimates state that roughly 300 pounds of food per year per American are wasted by being thrown out or becoming potentially unsafe to eat. So, the responsibility falls to each of us to take steps to reduce food waste. What can you do? Read the 3 tips below to learn more.
3 Steps to Less Food Waste
- Do a “pantry check” before heading to the grocery store. Plan meals based around foods you already have which will lessen the chances of those items becoming out of date and will also reduce your overall food spend. Resources like Supercook.com and MyFridgeFood.com can help generate recipes based on ingredients you input.
- Handle produce the right way for optimum shelf life. Learn which produce should be stored in the fridge versus on the counter, and keep items like apples and bananas, which produce ethylene ripening gas, away from other produce items. Wait to wash produce until right before consuming for longest shelf life. Infograph: How to Keep Produce Fresher Longer
- Manage your portions for multiple benefits. Consuming smaller, more mindful portions has several benefits. First of all, it truly makes your food “go further,” which is kind to your wallet and waistline, and also reduces the likelihood that food will be wasted. Do this at restaurants by ordering kids meals, sharing with a friend or family member, and boxing up leftovers at the start of the meal.
Allison Kuhn MS, RDN, LD
Director of Retail Nutrition
The Kroger Co.