Brace yourself! 146 Billion dollars in food is thrown away every year. That’s 40% of total food purchased! OK let that soak in. It’s about to get worse. The vast majority of that food is produce! I ask you, how many lives could be saved by that many nutrient packed fruits and veggies? How drastically lower would our food bills be if there wasn’t so much waste? How much less energy and resources could be used in producing our food if we simply ate what was there? OK, so before I lose my mind let’s talk solutions. I don’t like to dwell too long on issues to which I cannot offer a solution.
Here we go! How about, don’t waste food? That’s a start. While a lot of the waste happens in restaurants and grocery stores a decent amount happens in the home! Seriously, friends. This is exactly why I developed the Cooking Coach some, oh – almost 30 years ago. I didn’t have the statistics in front of me about food waste then, but I knew that I could not afford to waste food. I developed a system that prevented that. Even my sons now won’t go food shopping without a list and a menu for the week. Do you know what this prevents? Unused bits of random ingredients lingering in the fridge. You know, I rarely have to throw away food? I mean, really almost never. Also, I use as much as I can of every ingredient! Leaves, stems… if it’s not poisonous, I use it!
- Use your leftovers for lunch! Why on earth would you get lunch out when you can have homemade left over dinner? If you don’t end up saving 10 dollars a day this way then your bought lunch probably wasn’t very healthy, anyway. So really it’s a win-win.
- Buy only what you know you’ll use. Again! The Cooking Coach system that I created and use organizes your week for you so that don’t have to spend 5 hours every Saturday or Sunday figuring out your whole week’s grocery list, give up and end up buying things you never use.
- So! I know that there’s not much we can do about restaurant waste. But I’ll tell you this! It would certainly help grocery store waste if we all ate more fruits and veggies.
- Use what you buy! If my fruit is getting soft, I chop it up and freeze it. If my greens start to wilt: same thing! Obviously I don’t use these in salad, but blended into a green drink or cooked into soup they’re still perfect and packed with nutrients.
Listen, if you need help organizing your kitchen to eliminate food waste, try V Well Health’s Cooking Coach program. If you simply cannot afford it, write to me. Even just a few months on the program will at least teach you to get organized in the kitchen eliminate your household’s food waste.
So, do your part! I’m an optimist. I believe that if people are aware of the issues that we have the ability to fix them for sure. Let’s make it a goal to lower food waste and hunger in 2014! I believe it can be done.