The next time leftovers hit the garbage pail, consider the effects on your health and environment.

Food waste is one of the leading global epidemics, with over one-third of all food produced making its way into landfills. Spoiled food not only taps into your wallet, but the climate. When food is discarded, it rots in waste sites and releases methane gas – a greenhouse gas, which is believed to adversely affect the earth’s climate and temperature (i.e. global warming/climate change). While food waste is evident from production to table, there are practical ways to positively change your consuming habits to do your part as a health-conscious, waste-free consumer. 

SHOP SMART

Have a plan when you hit the grocery store. Each week, devise a healthy meal strategy and organize a shopping list of essential food items. This will help ensure you stay on track, refrain from buying on impulse and may reduce the risk of spoiled food. Try to buy fresh fruits and veggies in less quantities, but more often. By doing so, you can enjoy them at the peak of freshness and divert the risk of rotting produce in the back of the fridge. With all the necessary items stocked up and ready to go, lunch and/or dinner preparations can begin! Enjoy homemade meals – it will save your food, and your money.

STORE SMART

Understand expiration and sell by dates, as this could avoid ditching good food in the can. Use these dates as a guideline and trust your Spidey senses – smell, taste and sight, to investigate your edibles. “Sell By Date” are indicators for retailers to remove items from shelves, while “Expiration Date” are suggested dates for consumers – which is usually a few days before the item may start to decay. Likewise, avert premature spoilage by learning how to properly store food. Produce such as bananas, avocado and tomatoes release ethylene gas which promotes ripening. If stored with foods like berries, apples or peppers, it could result in rapidly rotting food, hence throwing it in the waste bin. Additionally, get into the habit of feasting and/or freezing leftovers or other uneaten foods. This will ensure it’s either readily consumed or conserved.  

SCRAP SMART

Devour all those healthful ingredients before they sour, by whipping up a homemade pot of soup, stew or broth. Everything from stalks to meat bones can be simmered into a delicious meal, without anything going to waste. And, for those food items that don’t quite make it to the pot, consider composting them; it’s an effective method of treating food waste and turning it into energy for plants. If composting isn’t your thing, a garbage disposal system is a great alternative. With its ease of use and practicality, it will take those perishing items and/or food scraps, pulverize, liquefy and pump them down the drain.

With a little planning and effort, implementing these health-conscious, eco-friendly habits will help to reduce the impact of food waste on the environment, and likewise, save you time, money and most importantly, your health.

Related Article: Some great tips on how to organize your grocery shopping in this article here.

Follow Daniela on Twitter at @deevitareflect and on Instagram at @deevitareflections

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