Mitigating Food Waste

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Currently, we live in a time where enough food is produced to feed every human on this planet, yet more than 820 million people are hungry. This is because many of the food that is produced does not get eaten. Instead, almost 40 percent of food in the United States goes to waste. That is almost half of the food being produced! While that number may be shocking, hopefully it will inspire some of you to make a change and help to reduce this statistic. Most food waste actually occurs at the consumer level, which means there is plenty we can do to curb the issue.

By making a conscious effort to reduce food waste, you’re stretching dollars spent on food, shielding the planet from greenhouse gasses emitted from food that rots in landfills, and reducing the labor, water and energy that goes into food production.

With that said, here are some straightforward strategies to reduce food waste:leftovers

1. Follow the first come, first served rule

Plan your meals in accordance with what you bought first. If it’s impossible to tell what you bought when, consider organizing your fridge so that the top shelf contains the foods that you need to use up right away. Anything you buy afterward can be stored in lower shelves or drawers. Label your shelves or create some “use me first” sticky notes to cut down on the detective work.

2. You don’t always need to buy a “good deal”

As tempting as it might be to save a buck or two when buying in bulk, it’s not really a deal if the food ends up in your trash can. While it might mean extra trips to the grocery store, you’ll buy only what you need.

3. Befriend your freezer

Freezing food is an excellent way to save produce from going bad as well as preserve nutrients and have a go-to meal available when you want it most. One common misconception is that meals that have been frozen don’t taste as good. However, as long as you store food in airtight containers or wrap items well, you’ll prevent “freezer burn” and any accompanying taste distortion.

4. Have a dedicated “leftover day”

As nice as it is to consume a fresh meal each day, it’s not always realistic with hectic schedules. Building a leftover day into your week will save time in the kitchen while ensuring that you make full use of all that you cooked!Leftovers in stacked containers

5. Pack it or donate it

Holidays and big party occasions can be notorious for food waste. If you happen to be hosting a large gathering, consider getting the food packed for friends and family or contacting Hole Food Rescue to donate your leftovers!

6. Volunteer with Hole Food Rescue

This local organization helps to rescue unused or unwanted food from grocery stores, restaurants and just about any other establishment that could contribute to food waste. This food is then sorted, cleaned and either distributed to local organizations in need or composted. Volunteers are always needed! Click on the link here to get involved.

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About Author

Tory is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, working at the Meno Clinic in Wilson, WY. As a former Bostonian, she moved to Wyoming simply to ski some of the world's best terrain. Although the mountains brought her here, it was the people and aura of Jackson itself that has convinced her to stay. Tory takes full advantage of the outdoor access here in Jackson, spending most of her time trail running, mountain biking and skiing. Follow along for yummy recipes and healthy living ideas!

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