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Nutrition News: Waste Not

Charlyn Fargo on

With the cost of food rising, it's more important than ever to waste less of the food we purchase. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as much as 40% of our food supply ends up in the trash or compost bin. More than a third of that stems from wasteful kitchen habits, says the USDA.

We all are guilty of buying food that just hangs out in our refrigerator and we end up throwing it away: overripe bananas, broccoli stems, moldy cheese, even milk sometimes. Or maybe it ends up there because we purchased too much or didn't end up eating the leftovers like we planned. It takes up space in landfills, not to mention the money we threw away. The average American (myself included) ends up spending $1,300 a year on food that ends up in the trash.

The good news is we can make a change by adopting a few simple habits in the kitchen.

No. 1: Freeze overripe bananas or use them in banana bread or a smoothie along with leftover berries.

No. 2: Toss leftover spaghetti or macaroni noodles into a soup. Repurpose meatballs into a sandwich.

No. 3: Organize your refrigerator and freezer by "first in, first out" dates. Put the oldest foods in front where you're more likely to grab them and the newer ones toward the back.

 

No. 4: Keep a running list of what's in your freezer either on your computer or on a dry-erase board. Date and label each package so you know what's in each package.

No. 5: You can freeze hard cheeses such as Parmesan, and you can freeze yogurt, milk and even whipped cream into ice cube trays to pop into a smoothie or hot cocoa. Bread can be frozen as well; just thaw it in the same package you froze it in.

No. 6: Store your herbs, celery and asparagus cut-end down in a glass of water in the refrigerator to keep them crisp and last longer.

No. 7: Before your citrus goes bad, juice it, then add it to a marinade or salad dressing or freeze it.

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