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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Ancona, MS, RDN, CDN

Reducing Food Waste This Earth Day (and every day!)

Hi Everyone! In honor of Earth Day, we wanted to share some helpful tips in both protecting our planet and lowering overall food waste. Reducing food waste is essential!!

Americans throw away $165 billion of food each year, which comes out to about 35 million tons of food. The amount of food waste can be attributed to the lack of education, improper storage, crowded refrigerators, partially used ingredients, and misjudged food needs.

First, we all get into the habit of using foods a certain way. The truth is that there are multiple ways to use these common foods. Please see below!

Fruit Peels- Use these to make infused olive oils and water

Broccoli Stems- Use as a substitution for pasta, noodles, or slaw

Cauliflower Leaves- Roast with cauliflower or on their own

Overripe Bananas- Great addition to baked goods

Herbs- Mince leftover herbs and mix them with some olive oil. Freeze in ice cube trays.

Bread Crust & Ends- Add to muffins or bread based casseroles. Use for croutons or homemade breadcrumbs.

There are other weekly tips you can include as well.Try to make a shopping list before you go to the grocery store. This will not only keep you from buying items you do not need, but also save you money. This is why it is essential to plan your meals out for the week, so you only buy what is necessary.

Secondly, storing your food correctly can also help you to reduce overall food waste.

-Freeze, can, or preserve surplus fruits and vegetables. Store in specified locations for maximum use.

- Keep all meat in the coldest part of the refrigerator: the bottom shelf.

-Milk should be kept in its original container in the back of the fridge, away from foods or foods with a strong odor.

- Dry goods should be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dark place.

-Store oils in a cool, dark place.

Lastly, in order to get the maximum amount out of your food it is important to understand dates that are on packaging and their meaning.

Sell-By Date: Tells the store how long to display the product for sale. For inventory management.

Use-By Date: Recommended for use of the product at peak quality. Not a safety date, except for when used on infant formula.

Best-By Date: Best of flavor or quality. Not a purchase or safety date.

Can Codes: Enable the tracking of the product in interstate commerce.

Egg Cartons: This is the pack date. The date that the eggs were washed, graded, and placed in a carton.

Happy Earth Day!!

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