Here's How to Waste Less Food
Help the environment, your bank account, and those living with food insecurity all at once.
What if I told you that eliminating food waste could potentially end hunger and help save the environment — not only in your local community, but also worldwide? You might think I’m exaggerating, or that it’s just wishful thinking. The good news is, it’s not.
About 40 percent of the food we produce in the U.S. (that’s a third of the global food supply) never gets eaten. In fact, most of it goes to waste in our own homes. That’s why the Ad Council recently launched a campaign to increase awareness and reduce food waste. Last week, they hosted a “Save the Food!” event in Boston that featured a conversation with Craving Boston’s managing editor, Catherine Smart, and local nonprofit Lovin’ Spoonfuls founder and executive director, Ashley Stanley.
“Hunger isn’t a problem of supply, it’s a problem of distribution,” says Stanley. More than 800,000 people in Massachusetts are food insecure, which means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Lovin’ Spoonfuls partners with local grocery stores, farms and wholesalers to provide fresh produce, lean meats, whole grains and dairy products that would have been thrown away to people who might otherwise go hungry.
The biggest takeaway from last week’s event? Think about the role you personally play in eliminating food waste.
Smart and Stanley shared the following tips:
1) Be more strategic about what you buy, how much and how often. To avoid what Smart calls “the sludge of guilt” in your produce drawer, don’t buy more than you can use at one time when shopping for groceries. This may mean you need to buy smaller quantities of food more frequently.
2) Don't be afraid to get creative in the kitchen and substitute ingredients. If a recipe calls for kale and you only have spinach on hand, use it! “You can generalize,” Smart explains. “Necessity is the mother of invention, and that’s how all great cuisines were formed.”
3) Get on board with the nose-to-tail and root-to-tip cooking trend. Before you throw away those carrot tops, consider using them to make a delicious pesto. Once your family has polished off that roasted chicken, use the bones to make a hearty stock and freeze it for future use. A quick online search can yield a load of information on how to use every part of an ingredient without letting anything go to waste.
According to Stanley, “Not wasting food is one of the most preventable problems we have in our lifetime. And it’s connected to stopping hunger and saving our environment… that’s the power of food — there’s so much possibility.”
Follow Amanda on Twitter @amandabalagur.