How to Manage Dieting, Food, and Food Waste

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Higher quality diets have greater amounts of fruits and vegetables, which are being wasted in greater quantities than other food,” says co-author Meredith Niles, a University of Vermont assistant professor. ”Eating healthy is important, and brings many benefits, but as we pursue these diets, we must think much more consciously about food waste.”  NY Post

How to manage your relationship between diet and the amount of food you waste 

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As we look further into our diets and what to eat, we also examine the amount of food we waste. In the fight against a warming global climate, this connection becomes increasingly important.

What foods are most often discarded around the world?  

In recent studies it was identified that out of twenty two food groups, the most commonly disposed items in households were fruits and vegetables, by 39% The second-followed by dairy which was stated to be 17%,  The third being Meat products at 14%.  

”Higher quality diets have greater amounts of fruits and vegetables, which are being wasted in greater quantities than other food,” says co-author Meredith Niles, a University of Vermont assistant professor. ”Eating healthy is important, and brings many benefits, but as we pursue these diets, we must think much more consciously about food waste.”  NY post. 

The growing buzz on food waste has built a dollar in markets putting for more eco friendly or vegetarian options (meat production is one of the largest sources of methane into the atmosphere). Although animal products take more resources to grow, the general waste levels are significantly lower than plant waste and produce, which often spoils faster. According to a study done by the Untied Nations FAO, the most commonly discarded food items are roots and beets, in comparison to the animal products that take more resources to make.

 

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images source: UNFAO.

This graphic shows the flip flop relationship food has with our environment. Its true that Animal produce requires more resources from the environment, space and time to produce, is water costly and terrible for the environment. But Plant produce also needs measurable resources  More plant produce is wasted than Animal produce, so how do these measure out?

Can one person be healthy and also environmentally friendly? The answer is of course. Looking into resources again we evaluate the reasons people displace food and produce within homes. A big part of the issue comes un- proper food storage in homes, shopping behavior patterns, and the knowledge to know how to handle food that is close to its expiration time.

Food is an abundant source for creativity and nutrition, that has value for longer than you may think! Here are some tips to limit tossing food away, and to get every penny on what you spend at the store.

What to buy, when to buy your food 

If people want to get a better bang for their buck, they need to be able to plan food meal ideas more often.vBecause grains and starches take longer to expire, these can easily be bought in bulk and last a long time, often costing significantly less when bought in bulk as well. Be sure to store these items in dark areas, though they don’t need to be refrigerated. (ex. Rice, Oats, Barley, flour, buckwheat, Black Beans, and Lentils). 

Because Produce has a lower lifespan than grains, these items need to be bought more frequently. Many people think produce is only safe to use until  the ”best by” dates, but the truth is almost all produce is still edible even after this. (Don’t mix ”Best by ”dates with expiration dates, these are often used for stores to help control stock within items and when they are best, but doesn’t actually make the food item itself already perishable. Don’t think less of these foods ! Try planning what you would like to eat within a week, and buy within a week. There are plenty of options to get creative with vegetables and fruits, even when they start to get older.  See some of our easy recipes here.

Food Storage

How do you store your food at home? do you place all food in the refrigerator, then not remember your fruits that were stored and cut up all the way in the back? We have all been guilty of this. Does placing food in a fridge really make it last longer? At times. There are a few food items you may be storing away into a fridge that may not even need to be there!

Find out how to optimize the space in your fridge to make your food last longer. You will probably end up feeling more organized, empowered by knowing how long your food can last, and begin to plan how you would like to eat it!

Leftover Recipes

Restaurants are also tackling the problem with food waste by getting chefs to act creative within the kitchen. Within the past two years different restaurants have gained nation wide attention for theming their restaurant using only recycled foods. These chefs are creating a business gain that consumers are catching on fast too. The good news is, this can also be tried at home! Leftovers can be made into a new delicious dish, and we are going to show you how.

See how this restaurant went trash free.

Welcome To Food Waste Tech

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Delicious food from the back of your refrigerator 

Food going older doesn’t mean going bad! Here are a few tips to try in your house to make food last longer, and have a yummy solution from perishable items.

  1. Leafy greens

Spinach or kale are dense in nutrients and at times costly in a supermarket. Unfortunately These are often some of the first food items that can lose their crisp. When near the perishable time, the leafs often don’t look the most optimizing for a salad. But they are often still edible and loaded with nutrients for your body! Try using incorporating them into a smoothie or soup! It won’t add any bad flavor and will increase the nutritional value or your next on the go meal! If you have large amounts of these greens in storage, they can also be frozen then used for soups soups or sauces. 

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2. Bananas

Bananas are clean, on the go and easily transportable to many countries where fruits aren’t so readily available. Although they are quick to turn brown, this is actually when they are at their sweetest. These brown bananas can be readily used as a healthy substitute for any sort of backed good, or be used in Banana Pancakes, dessert puddings, and delicious Banana Bread. If this sounds nice, but your tight on time, put them in the freezer, and don’t worry about the dark colored peel, the insides are still nutritious!

3. Other fruits

Fruits or veggies losing their crunch?  Throw them into smoothies at the end date! Many grocery stores sell berry and frozen fruit packages to make smoothies, why not try using the leftovers you have at home? Vegetables and fruits can be combined for a loaded vitamin material within smoothies.

4. Other solutions for Vegetables or Fruits

If not in a smoothie is to use them in a soup or create delicious sauces. Apples, and peaches can always be heated up and sprinted with cinnamon for a good sauce or cobbler to be eaten alone for desert or used as a topping. 

5. Tomatoes

these can always be thrown into a soup for some extra flavor or slice onto some bread. If getting old. throw them in a blender with cucumbers, green peppers, onions and some jalapeño then add lime juice and garlic to create a gazpacho!

6. Zucchini

When they are not as crunchy anymore, improvise and go for a zucchini pasta or lasagna ! These are guilt free and healthy alternative to everyday pasta and some delicious recipes that can be used this way. Treat yourself and eat as much as you want. 

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5. Pickle it 

If it is a Produce, it can probably be picked (Just ask your grandma). Peppers, Cucumbers, strawberries, cherries. This is a great way to store food in winter time or for people living grandparents time and If you or one of your grandparents has grown up on a farm you are probably used to seeing these jars

6. Juices 

Orange juice or tropical juices can be added with some fruit to create a delicious beverage along with a morning breakfast or for a snack. Don’t be afraid to add these elements together. 

7. Milk.

Even spoiled milk has its own use! Although generally milk is okay to drink a few days after the expiration date, sour milk can still be used in baked goods. Still not up for drinking spoiled milk? Try alternative milks last longer with a lower expiration date, Such as almond Milk. It’s tasty and will give you more options for use avoiding any animal bacteria that can cause sickness after an expiration date.  

8. Eggs 

Eggs are one of the more long lasting shelf If you have no immediate plans to eat eggs coming up to an expiration date: just boil them. They are a nutritious on the go snack and can be used immediately in any salad that is being made or on your . Once they are boiled their life span will increase even more

9. Bread

Another commonly used food. Placing bread in a refrigerator will not make it last longer. However try to keep it stored and sealed out of the light. Natural bread without any preservatives spoils a lot faster.  Because bread is delicious and throwing any if it away would be just sad, turn these stale pieces into croutons or toast.

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See some ideas that may work in your kitchen? Try using #theleftoverproject to showcase your before and after for the food in your house.

In all, although some food production requires different amounts of energy to create, but we as consumers also have a responsibility to use what we buy usefully. Buy within your means, and don’t take more than what you need. We encourage you to get creative in your kitchen and save money buy trying a few of these secrets.

“I simply believe food is too good to throw away. And Christmas leftovers can be a gastronomic opportunity for the well skilled kitchen forager. With a little imagination, there are a million ways to use up leftovers rather than to bin them.” – Tristram Stuart, Food Waste Campaigner

 

 

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