Reducing food waste and loss means your not wasting money
Committed to improving the health and well-being of Americans, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month in March. This year’s theme, “Go Further with Food,” encourages us to find ways to reduce food loss and waste.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that Americans throw away 90 billion pounds of food annually, costing consumers about $370 per person each year.
Of course, food that is no longer safe to eat should be tossed. But, there are lots of things we can do to reduce wasted food at home with simple shopping, storage, and cooking practices, and the Academy offers several helpful tips.
- Plan meals around foods you already have on hand. Search your refrigerator, freezer, and pantry for items that need to be used up. Today’s orzo salad was actually created from doing just that. Roasting vegetables is a great way to use ones that still taste great, but are a bit visually unappealing.
- Cut up leftover vegetables and lean meats and add to hearty soups, salads, and sandwiches. Also, day-old cooked rice and pasta adds a wonderful heartiness to soups and chili.
- Scale back your grocery list and buy only the amount of food that can be eaten or frozen within a few days.
- In the refrigerator, place foods that spoil quickly in front and always label and date foods that are packaged for freezer storage.
- Don’t risk eating or drinking anything you suspect is spoiled. When in doubt, throw it out.
Darlene Zimmerman is a registered dietitian in Henry Ford Hospital’s Heart & Vascular
Institute. For questions about today’s recipe, call 313-972-1920.
Orzo with Roasted Vegetables and Feta
Serves: 8 / Prep time: 20 minutes / Total time: 1 hour
¾ cup whole-wheat orzo
2 cups quartered mushrooms
2 cups cubed zucchini
1 ½ cups cubed red bell pepper
¾ cup cubed red onion
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Cook orzo according to package directions, omitting salt. Cool orzo after cooking
under cold water and drain well; set aside. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place mushrooms, zucchini, red pepper and onion with 1 tablespoon oil on a sided large baking sheet. (For even roasting, cut all vegetables to a uniform
size.) Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until vegetables begin to brown slightly. In a
small bowl, whisk together remaining tablespoon oil, lemon juice, sugar, mustard,
salt, and black pepper. In a large bowl, toss orzo, vegetables, dressing, and feta
cheese. Garnish with parsley.
143 calories (31% from fat), 5 grams fat (1 gram sat. fat, 0 grams trans fat), 20 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams protein, 185 mg sodium, 2 mg cholesterol, 45 mg calcium, 4 grams fiber. Food exchanges: 2 starch, ½ fat.
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