Each year, Americans waste 150,000 tons of edibles, which make up to 40 percent of the food supply in the country. This is equal to one-third of the total caloric intake of a normal individual. When we are wasting food, we are not only wasting the food itself but also wasting the tremendous resources and energy that went into growing it.
Food waste has a huge negative impact on the environment. Not only it wastes resources, but it also contributes to global warming. For example, when food waste is disposed in landfills, it decays and becomes methane, which is a prominent greenhouse gas that destroys our ozone layer. To reduce waste, it is important we take steps at the grass-root level, such as modifications in our lifestyles, and work our way up to take campaigns at national and international levels to save our environment and encourage green living.
So What are some Practical Ways We can Implement to Reduce Food Waste?
1) Planning Ahead
Buying groceries unplanned can cause you to spend more and buy more food than you need. It is important to consider your family size and categorize their portions according to need. This can save you from wasting too much food. Check the expiry date and buy with the perception that you will be consuming that food item in a certain amount of time.
2) Practice Batch Cooking
Batch cooking and then storing the prepared or ready to prepare meals in the freezer will not only help you save more time but also give you an idea of the portions you need to make for the family. Moreover, it also saves food from getting deteriorated due to environmental and biological factors. This is best for food containing high moisture content.
3) Use the Unappealing Too
We, as consumers, demand for “perfect looking” fruits and vegetables has led grocery chains to buy only “good looking” produce from farmers. As a result, tons of “ugly looking” produce that is perfectly eatable, would go into waste every day. Also, we tend to throw out the food that does not visually appeal to us on the dining table. Let’s learn to love ALL shape and colors!
4) Don’t Over-Serve Food!
When cooking for family or friends, it’s our tendency to serve more food than what they actually need for their daily food intake. Overeating is a common problem for many people today. Practicing portion control by using smaller plate could be a solution.
5) Put Your Freezer into Practical Use
Freezing food is one of the most practical ways to preserve food that we do not consume immediately. For example, while a fish fillet can be kept in the fridge for only 2 days, it can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months, while it’s still good to eat. It is because the freezing temperature inhibits the growth of bacteria or kills the bacteria that can spoil food.