March is National Nutrition Month. This year’s theme is “Go Further With Food”.
Americans throw away over $218 billion a year in food waste. Wasted food is important on many levels, and it impacts all parts of the food supply chain. For example, the costs for producing food that goes uneaten affects farmers and business owners, as well as our economy. Consumers are faced with higher food prices and lose money when food spoils at home or gets thrown out as plate waste.
Food waste also affects the environment, since resources such as water, that are used to produce the food are wasted, too. In addition, much of the food that is tossed out winds up in landfills.
Another reason why preventing food waste is so important is because there are numerous households in the U.S. that are food insecure. This means that millions of children and adults lack access to food at some point in time.
Not all food that is wasted can be saved and eaten, but a lot of food waste could be prevented, especially at home. Preparing meals at home, growing your own groceries or repurposing leftovers help us Go Further with Food.
• Preparing meals at home allows you to make great decisions about the foods on your plate. Meals do not have to be elaborate four course dinners with fancy names. Planning meals out at the beginning of the week will help focus on the foods and the portions you need. Think variety of colors, textures and spices to keep foods interesting.
• Growing your own groceries allows you to stretch your grocery dollars and provide fresh fruits and vegetables. Check out this video for some tips: Go Further with Food Tips and Tricks.
• Repurposing leftovers can make our food go a little further. Instead of tossing leftover veggies at the end of your meal, save for lunch the next day, add to an omelet, or freeze for vegetable soup. Taking a list to the grocery store will also help minimize the extras we add to the cart.
For more information on reducing food waste visit USDA ChooseMyPlate.gov.