Good food is something that people care about; it matters how it is grown produced, bought and prepared. Canada invests much into feeding its growing population. However an estimated $27 billion finds its way into Canadian landfills every year. A recent study shows that we cannot blame this as much on the producers of food as we can on ourselves because over 50% of this waste originates from food being thrown out in our homes.
There are three main reasons this happens - cooking/preparing too much, not using the food in time, and lacking the confidence to use leftovers. An interesting cause of food waste is the refrigerator as we often find ourselves not wasting food in spite of our freezers or refrigerators but because of them! It is easy to lose leftovers behind bottles of salad dressing or forget about peppers that are hiding in the crisper under the lettuce.
Food waste matters not just because it harms the environment but because it hurts our wallets as well!
Some simple ways to avoid wasting food unnecessarily:
Plan ahead: Make a list of what you need and stick to it. The less you have to crowd up your fridge, the less chance of wasting food
Know how to preserve your fruits and vegetables. Apples last up to two weeks longer in the fridge if they are loosely wrapped.
Food can be frozen before its “best before” date which can save you time down the road. Remember to use it within 24 hours of removing from the freezer.
Rethink what you throw out. For example, potato peelings can be drizzled with olive oil, sea salt and pepper and roasted in the oven to make a healthy potato chip!
Some more information on the studies listed or sites with food saving tips:
On a larger scale we need to keep informing companies (or reminding them as the case may be) that many food banks have the capacity to safely take and distribute close-dated food in a quick time period. Such programs can better serve the population than throwing this food out.
I have designed a Weekly Meal Planner in Excel. Besides helping to reduce food waste, it helps us with planning the grocery list, and thus with making less trips to the grocery store. It also helps us to plan a good variety of meals for the week and to monitor the types of food we should be cutting back on. There are columns for breakfast, lunch, supper and dessert. You soon discover there are meal favorites you always want listed and that makes the planner easier to do as there are fewer spots to fill in for the week.
I completely agree...but it's even harder for many people who don't know how to cook, no less preserve things. We always have 'use what's in the fridge' meals - which might end up with tuna on zucchini boats with a red pepper puree...but you can't use up food like that if you don't know how to prepare it. It's too bad we don't focus on this as a skill anymore...
Great ideas though - I like the homemade chip plan!