How to cut down on food waste and get more out of your budget
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, as part of a national education campaign, encourages everyone to take advantage of the numerous benefits healthy eating habits offer and urges everyone to cut back on food waste.
Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance can also help to reduce food loss and waste. Learning to manage food resources will help save both nutrients and money.
Keep these key messages in mind:
• Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
• Consider the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
• Buy only the amount that can be eaten or frozen within a few days and plan ways to use leftovers later in the week.
• Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
• Continue to use good food safety practices.
• Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
• Realize the benefits of healthy eating by consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDN’s can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preference and health-related needs.
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Wondering about food waste? Examples would be overstocking, buying too much food and taking larger than needed portions. Wasted food wastes money and nutrients. Plan meals based on foods you already have. Look in the refrigerator, freezer, and pantry first for foods that need to be used up. To help prevent food waste, buy only the amount of food that can be eaten or frozen within a few days. Place foods that spoil quickly within sight. Store produce properly.
It’s been estimated that Americans throw away 90 billion pounds of food each year either at home or when eating out. Not all food that is wasted can be saved and eaten, but it’s been proven that a lot of food waste could be prevented, especially at home. Get creative with those leftovers. Transform meals into soups, salads, or sandwiches. Use leftover meats and veggies as a topping for salads or cooked grains.
Shopping locally can be a great way to add healthful foods to your diet while conserving natural resources. Food purchased at farmers markets often is more affordable and tastes better than at commercial grocery stores because it is locally grown and naturally ripened.
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These are all good reasons why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Go Further with Food” by choosing foods that are healthful to the environment and their bodies during National Nutrition Month, celebrated during March.
To find a personalized plan that works best, consult a registered dietitian nutritionist. RDN’s can provide sound, easy-to-follow nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs. To commemorate the dedication of registered dietitian nutritionists as the leading advocates for advancing the nutrition status of people, celebrate “Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day” on March 14.
For more information visit eatright.org, #nationalnutritionmonth.
Carol Chappell, MS, RDN, is with the LD Healthcare Services Group.
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