The proverb “Waste not want not” in essence means that if you never waste anything, you will always have what you need. So true, right?

The shocking reality is that a third of all food produced in the world, is never eaten. Between harvest and retail alone, around 14% of all food globally is lost. That equates to 1.3 billion tons of food every year! In a world where millions of people go hungry every day, the scale of the food waste problem is out of control. And if you think that food waste doesn’t affect you, think again.

It’s not just about wasting money. Discarded food is sent to landfills, where it rots and produces methane gas, which is the second most common greenhouse gas. In other words, throwing out food contributes to climate change. Also, 24% of all water used for agriculture is lost through food waste every year (that’s about 170 trillion litres!).

The good news is that there are endless ways you can reduce, reuse, and recycle your food waste and with a small amount of effort, you can cut your food waste dramatically, save money and help take some pressure off Mother Nature.

Here’s how:

  • Raid your pantry first. Take a “shelfie” to remind you what you have on your pantry shelves. Most of us have more food stashed away in our pantry and freezer than we realize. Search the internet for recipes that combine the ingredients that you already have.
  • Shop like a Zen Master. Buy only what you need. Plan your meals. Make a shopping list and stick to it. Make sure to eat highly perishable foods first. Not only will you waste less food, but you’ll also save money.
  • Choose quality over quantity. The best quality foods (organic, fair trade, fresh, unprocessed, etc.) may cost more, but it reinforces buying less, thereby reducing waste while improving environmental and personal health outcomes.
  • Cook for the week. Take time for meal prep at least once a week. Choose one-pot recipes and cook a batch of whole grains (rice, quinoa, barley) to go with your yummy main dish. This is truly one of the best ways to stretch your groceries and trim your bills.
  • Get creative with leftovers. Add fruit to savoury dishes, like a chicken salad with apples or grapes. Add plenty of herbs and spices to enhance flavour and fight inflammation. Blitz cauliflower with coconut milk and spices into a soup. Delicious!
  • Eat the skins. Large amounts of fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants are found in the outer layers of produce and in poultry skin.
  • Get quirky with fruit and vegetables. Puree soft fruit and veggies and make ice pops or blend them into a delicious smoothy.
  • Make stock. Got food scraps? Use vegetable peels and leftover chicken to make a delicious broth or stock to be used in gravy’s and soups later.
  • Learn how to can, pickle or make jams to preserve the shelf-life of your food. Also, get friendly with your freezer. Remember to keep foods such as bananas and tomatoes away from apples, berries and peppers -ethylene gas produced as the former group ripen, can spoil the latter group.
  • We can never prevent every last lettuce leaf from going bad, but it’s less of an issue if it goes back into the land rather than into the landfill.

It’s time to rethink mindless consumption. Can we afford not to?

Source: modernfarmer.com, fao.org, dontwastethecrumbs.com, bbcgoodfood.com, healthline.com, bobvila.com, grammarist.com  

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.