March is National Nutrition Month. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages you to “Go Further With Food”. It is a great reminder that the food you choose makes a big difference. Additionally, it is meant to inspire you to think about what you are eating and to be conscious of reducing food waste. Learning to manage resources bumps up nutrition and saves money. That is a great combination!
Following three simple tips will help you reduce food waste in your home:
- Take inventory. Before grocery shopping, evaluate what you already have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Plan recipes based on the food items you already have rather than buying all new. Do you have chicken? Buy onions and bell peppers and make fajitas. Do you have pasta? Buy evaporated milk and Parmesan cheese for Quick & Easy Fettuccine. Is your bag of potatoes half full? Buy pizza toppings and give Potato Pizza Wedges a try.
- Simplify your list and meals. When grocery shopping, buy only what you can use or freeze within a few days. Having too many options on hand may cause food to spoil before you can use it. Plan similar meals or plan to use leftovers later in the week. Simplifying the amount of recipes you make each week will cut down on food costs and time spent in the kitchen. You can add more variety in your diet by purchasing something different the next week.
- Watch your portions. Be mindful of correct portion sizes as you cook recipes and prepare meals. Preparing or serving yourself too much food can be a big culprit of food waste. Make smaller amounts of main dish items and supplement the meal with easy sides like fresh fruit and vegetables, whole wheat bread or rolls, or low-fat cheese and crackers. For more information on portion control, click here.
And there you have it! Three simple steps to go further with food by reducing food waste in your home. This week I challenge you to test out the second tip by planning similar meals. Start with one of my new favorite recipes, Oriental Beef Stir Fry.
As you can see, the recipe calls for cabbage. A head of cabbage goes a long way. To prevent food waste, plan a few other meals using cabbage. You might try Cabbage Patch Stew, Apple & Poppyseed Coleslaw, or simply adding chopped cabbage to a green salad or sandwich. For even more ideas check out the Top Ten Ways to Enjoy Cabbage by fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org. Come back and let me know which recipes you tried and which ones are your favorite. Enjoy!