National Nutrition Month – by Mallory Sin RD, LDN Nutritionist
March is National Nutrition Month! This is a month of education and awareness hosted by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to promote eating healthy and exercising. The theme for this year is “Go Further with Food,” which highlights the importance of meal and snack planning in advance to fuel your body properly and to reduce food loss and waste.
Food waste is defined by the USDA as when edible foods go unconsumed. Examples of this are when grocery stores throw out fruits and vegetables because of their appearance, when uneaten foods after a meal is thrown in the trash, or when you clean out your refrigerator of expired products.
Wasted food inevitably results in wasted money and also wasted nutrition. This is a public health and an economical issue. According to an article published by Harvard Law School in December of 2017, “[Americans] waste around 40 percent of our food supply. On average, every American wastes 400 pounds of food per year. The cost of this wasted food is $218 billion, or 1.3 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.”
We, as consumers, cannot control how well restaurants or supermarkets eliminate food waste. However, there are steps that we can take to prevent food waste in our own homes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Buy and cook only the amount of food that can be eaten. Or freeze the food you buy or cook within a few days.
- Store your produce and meats properly in either your freezer or refrigerator.
- Organize your food pantry so that foods with the soonest expiration date gets used first.
- Find recipes that use up as much the ingredients you have in your refrigerator before purchasing more food.
- Use leftover foods in different ways to use them up. For example, cut up leftover meats and veggies for soup, salads or a sandwich.
Whittier Street Health Center has partnered up with a food rescue organization called FairFoods to offer fresh fruits and vegetables at a $2 for a 12 pound bag of assorted produce to everyone in our community. Distributions are every other Tuesday on the second floor from 1:30-2:30pm starting 3/13. Stop by and visit us to save money on your produce and support our goal of cutting down on food waste!