Go Further With Food
National Nutrition Month
By Gabby Cabacab, DTR
Some of you may not know, but March also marks National Nutrition Month, hosted by The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, and fun fact, I happen to be a part of it as a Registered Dietetic Technician! Every year, the Academy chooses one theme for the entire month, and this year the theme is Go Further With Food.
So you may be wondering, “What do you mean by ‘Go further with food’?”. The best way to explain this is doing your best to reduce food waste. Food waste not only affects your wallet, but it also affects the world that we all share. The following are some tips that you can follow to help prevent food waste and to help you go further with food!
Plan your meals based on the foods already available in your kitchen
Before you go grocery shopping, look through your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry and take note what food you have that needs to be used up. Based on the foods available, look for recipes (or experiment with the knowledge that you have!) that utilize those ingredients. If necessary, write out a list of the ingredients that you don’t have so that when you go grocery shopping you will only buy what you need.
If you have foods that you know spoil quickly, keep them within sight.
Maybe you have some bananas that you keep forgetting about or avocados that always happen to go bad the moment you cut into them. Keep them in sight! Have a bowl on your kitchen counter full of foods like these so you can easily check up on them. If you see them every day, you’re more likely to remember to finish them up! Don’t let them go to waste!
Store your produce properly
Sometimes the main culprit of food going bad is not storing them properly. Plenty of fruits and vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator, and even last longer too, but some of them need to be left out on the counter. If you’re interested in learning more about how to properly store specific produce, check out this handy infographic!
Donate extra foods that are still safe to eat to your local food pantry
There are plenty of people living in the United States that are food insecure. Consider donating foods that are safe to eat to your local food pantry. This includes canned foods and dry pantry staples. Some food pantries also take produce if donated well before their ‘Use By’ dates. Contact your local food pantry or food recovery program to learn more about donating and helping those in need!
It’s estimated that billions of pounds of food are thrown away each year in the United States alone, making it about 300 pounds of food per year for the average American. This means, the average American is filling up landfills easily with food alone, and also contributing to using up and wasting resources, such as water, at an alarming rate. Remember that while not all of your food can be saved and eaten, you have the power to prevent food waste at home.
Be on the lookout for more food and nutrition articles and recipes coming at you throughout the month to celebrate National Nutrition Month!