I know it’s cliché, but the phrase “there are starving children in Africa” is repeated over and over with good intentions. There are starving children everywhere, but your momma was just trying to help teach you a lesson about being grateful for what you have. It’s impossible for some kids to appreciate food security simply because they have not experienced it; not everyone always has food waiting for them on a dinner plate like many of us do.
Unfortunately, despite the popularity of the phrase, Americans, for the most part, continue to be a despicably wasteful group of people. Even if you think you do a pretty good job of not wasting much food, there’s always more that can be done! I have a few suggestions for how to become an exemplary role model in this fight against food waste.
- Bulk Isn’t Always a Bargain: With the rise of stores like Costco, it’s easy to get lured into the idea that bulk is best. I know everyone else is buying bulk, but has anyone ever told you not to be like everyone else? That old-school peer pressure lesson applies here, people! At the register, bulk buys may be a deal, but the last three pounds of broccoli florets that became moldy before you had a chance to eat them classifies as food waste. Did your trash can tell you that broccoli was its favorite veggie? That “cheap” purchase doesn’t sound like such a great deal now, huh? Shop smart by buying less for a little less money, and wasting none of it! Deal? Not exercising portion control, if you will, could lead to excess calorie consumption, too. Remember: huge, bulk portions are for large families with nineteen kids, or a few teenagers.
- Fridge/Freezer Organization: The kitchen is no place for messiness, unless you’re actively cooking in it. If your fridge/freezer isn’t neat and orderly, you can’t expect to be able to see, or remember, what food items need to be eaten first. I’m constantly reorganizing the fridge because I can’t stand it when forgotten, hidden, and/or lost produce goes bad. Whatever foods are first in must be the first out!
- Don’t Fear Frozen Produce: They say fresh is best, but, a lot of times, frozen is just as good! Certain fruits and veggies I tend to only buy frozen, actually (corn, peas, etc.). Most frozen produce is economical, free of preservatives, picked at its peak, and full of nutrients. Plus, if your produce is going to spoil soon, you can always chop it up and freeze it yourself! Voilà!
- Grocery Shop More: Contrary to popular belief, your fridge/freezer doesn’t always have to be stocked full to the brim. To prevent food waste, go to the grocery store more frequently, especially if you’re within walking distance of one. Picking out food for tonight’s dinner only makes for a quick trip, and the freshest food available. So, what’s the problem? I hate buying a bunch of food at once because then I find myself stressed, worried about planning numerous meals, and using everything up in time. Minimalist food shopping may be the key to successfully not wasting food.
- Invest in Glass Tupperware: Skip the BPA-laden plastic stuff; go straight for the higher quality glass food storage containers. If you’re not a klutz, it’s worth it! In case you didn’t know—properly storing leftovers does make them last longer. By keeping the freshness in, you’re more likely to actually eat Tuesday night’s lasagna, instead of just eventually throwing it out. Zero food waste and more lasagna? Talk about a win-win.
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