Trips to the grocery store are filled with all kinds of different emotions. For some of us, we go into the grocery store for two things and walk out with over $200.00 of groceries. While this may be a problem for some families, it is a luxury that is not afforded to all. Grocery shopping can be a stress filled trip, trying to get groceries for a family of four, on a budget made for one. Grocery shopping can be made an enjoyable experience for more American’s, with a few adjustments to the way we prevent food waste.
On average, American’s waste between 25-40% of the food that they purchase. This accounts for around $165 million dollars lost, due to food waste in America. This waste creates billions of tons of greenhouse gasses that are a major culprit in climate change, in addition to a terrible waste to land and water resources. According the USDA the average American family spends $650.00 per month on groceries. If we are wasting 30% of our groceries, we are in essence throwing away around $200.00 per month. For some families $200.00 is more than half of their monthly food budget that is being wasted every month.
Planning meals, using grocery lists, and avoiding impulse buys are great ways to prevent wasting food each month. Purchase items only when you have a plan for them. Be realistic about what you purchase. If you live alone or have a family of two, it may not make sense to buy an entire bag of oranges or potatoes. The same goes for purchasing meat. Meat can be sold in packages up to 10 lbs.! Once open, meat can last 1-2 days after opening. With a small family, it may be challenging to eat that much meat in a one or two day span.
When cooking, use every piece of the food that you cooking with. Skins and stems of lots and fruits and vegetables contain high levels of nutrients that are often discarded. Skin on apples, cucumbers, potatoes and the stems of broccoli are delicious and nutritious. Fruits like oranges, lemons and limes have skin that is not easily edible, but the rind can be removed with a citrus zester to provide a burst of concentrated flavor to a number of food dishes.
Eating leftovers can prevent unnecessary waste of your food. Freezing your leftovers is a great way to save one of your favorite dishes for later. Make sure to label the food that you freeze to help consume it before sitting in the freezer for too long.
We as individuals and families can make small changes that make a big difference in the amount of food that we waste every day.
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