Easy ways to reduce your food waste

Food waste is a bigger problem than many people realize. In fact, nearly one-third of all food produced in the world is discarded or wasted for various reasons. That equates to nearly 1.3 billion tons every year.

 

Industrialized countries like the United States waste more food than developing nations. In 2010, the average American generated about 219 pounds (99 kg) of food waste, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

 

You can help reduce this harmful practice by following the easy tips listed here:

 

Shop Smart

Most people tend to buy more food than they need. Though buying in bulk may be convenient, research has shown it leads to food waste. To avoid buying more food than you need, make frequent trips to the grocery store every few days rather than doing a bulk shopping trip once a week.

Store Food Correctly

Improper storage leads to massive amounts of food waste. For instance, potatoes, tomatoes, garlic, cucumbers, and onions should never be refrigerated but kept at room temperature. Bananas, avocados, tomatoes, cantaloupes, peaches, pears, and green onions produce ethylene gas while ripening. Keep these foods away from ethylene-sensitive produce like potatoes, apples, leafy greens, berries, and peppers.

 

Learn to Preserve

Pickling, drying, canning, fermenting, freezing and curing are all methods you can use to make food last longer, thus reducing waste.

 

Don’t Be a Perfectionist

Though identical in taste and nutrition, the so-called “ugly” fruits and vegetables get passed up for produce that is more pleasing to the eye. The consumer demand for flawless fruits and vegetables has led major grocery chains to buy only picture-perfect produce from farmers. This leads to tons of perfectly good food going to waste.

 

Keep Your Fridge Clutter-Free

You’ve probably heard the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” This rings especially true when it comes to food. While having a well-stocked fridge can be a good thing, an overly filled fridge can be bad when it comes to food waste.

 

Save Leftovers

Many people save excess food from large meals, but it is often forgotten in the fridge until it goes bad. Storing leftovers in a clear glass container, rather than in an opaque container, helps ensure you don’t forget the food. Designate a day to use up leftovers.

Eat the Skin

People often remove the skins of fruits, veggies, and chicken when preparing meals. So many nutrients are in the outer layer of produce and in poultry skin. For example, apple skins contain a large amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Not only is eating the skin delicious, but it’s also economical and reduces your food waste impact.

 

Eat the Yolk

Avoiding egg yolks mostly stems from the fear that these increase cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that in most people, dietary cholesterol only has a small effect on cholesterol levels. When you eat foods that contain a high amount of cholesterol, your liver simply compensates by producing less.

 

Be a Seed Saver

Out of the 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins produced in the United States every year, most end up getting thrown away. A great way to cut waste is to save the seeds, which are very high in magnesium, a mineral that is important for heart and blood health and helps control blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

 

Keep Your Serving Sizes in Check

Overeating is a problem for many people. Making sure your portion sizes stay within a healthy range doesn’t just help keep your weight down, it also reduces food waste.

 

Understand Expiration Dates

“Sell by” and “expires on” are two of the many confusing terms companies use on food labels. The problem is, the US government doesn’t regulate these terms. “Sell by” is used to inform retailers when the product should be sold or removed from the shelves. “Best by” is a suggested date that consumers should use their products by. Neither of these terms means that the product is unsafe to eat after the given date.

The Bottom Line

There are endless ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle your food waste. By thinking more about the food your household wastes every day, you can help create positive change to conserve some of the earth’s most valuable resources.

 

(Courtesy: www.healthline.com)

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: Forbes)

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