You can take steps to make your food go further and reduce food waste by shopping locally, preparing meals in advance and storing food correctly. For National Nutrition Month® 2018, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics urges everyone to “Go Further with Food.” The following tips will help you do just that:
Shop locally. Shopping locally can be a great way to add healthful foods to your diet while conserving natural resources. Food purchased at farmers markets often is more affordable and tastes better than at commercial grocery stores because it is locally grown and naturally ripened. Buying locally grown food also helps conserve natural resources and has a minimal effect on the environment.
“Supporting local farmers markets enables us to produce healthful food today and for generations to come,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Libby Mills in a press release.
Plan ahead when you shop locally. Bring a shopping list and purchase foods you know how to prepare. “Talk to your local farmers about less familiar fruits or vegetables,” encourages Mills. “They’ll usually be able to share how it’s grown, what it tastes like and several ways of preparing and serving the food.”
Be sure to purchase ingredients for salads and produce for side dishes that go well with fish, chicken or meat entrées. To prevent fruit from rotting in the fridge, estimate how many pieces you’ll need for your lunches and snacks for the week.
“Sustainability is about making the best possible choices for your health, the health of the community, the environment and those producing your food,” Mills says. “Sustainable practices build strong communities, diverse ecosystems, and healthy individuals.”
Prepare meals in advance. Write down meals and recipes you want to make during the week. Be sure to include a variety of foods from the major food groups—fruits, vegetables, grains, protein foods, and dairy to get the nutrients you need.
Plan to use leftovers. Think about larger recipes with enough servings for multiple meals. This can reduce the number of ingredients you need to buy, and save you time preparing another meal.
Look in your freezer, cabinets, and refrigerator to determine what you currently have on hand. You’ll save money by using these items in the upcoming week’s meals. When you don’t have a lot of time choose meals you can easily prepare. Save recipes and meals that take longer to make for your days off.
After shopping prepare perishable foods as soon as possible. It will be easier to quickly make meals or snacks later in the week, saving time, effort, and money. Wash, dry, chop, dice, slice, and place your fresh food items in clear storage containers for snacks and easy cooking.
Keep food from going bad by putting it in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Freeze food such as bread, sliced fruit, or meat that you know you won’t be able to eat in time.
Prepare and cook perishable items, then freeze them for use throughout the month. For example, bake and freeze chicken breasts or fry and freeze taco meat.
Store food correctly. Proper food storage can reduce waste and lower grocery bills.
Create a designated space in your fridge for foods that you think will be going bad within a few days. Check your fridge often to keep track of what you have and what needs to be used. Eat or freeze items before you need to throw them away.
Learn about food product date labels – not all dates refer to the safety of the item! Date labels such as “sell by” or “best if used by” often refer to the best quality of a food item. Just because the date on a package has passed does not mean the food is unsafe. However, if there are signs of spoilage such as discoloration, mold, or strong unpleasant smell, it is probably not safe to eat, and you should throw it away.
To learn more about food safety download the “Is My Food Safe App” available on the iPhone app store or the Android app on Google Play.
Originally posted here on Blackdoctor.org by Constance Brown-Riggs (@eatingsoulfully)