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Waste not, save more: How to make every bite count

April 21, 2011

Rachel Zoe on Waste...at least that's what we think she'd say

 Waste not, save more. 

With the escalating prices of everyday life and a belt-tightening economy, everyone is more mindful of where their green is going. Yet, if you were to peek into your local landfill, you’d find almost 40% of it from fresh food – a waste of precious resources and a weight on the environment. 25% of our water and 4% of oil go into food that ends up in the trash, and it costs the U.S. $1B (with a B) dollars a year just to deal with disposal. To add to the pile, methane gas from food waste is 21x more harmful to the environment than car emissions.*

Give your fruit + veggies a wash before they chill.  We know, you’ve been trained to wait until you’re ready to use it.  But that’s because they’re talking about using water.  You, my friend, know better. Eat Cleaner Fruit + Vegetable Wash extends your shelf life and helps make your fruit and veggies ‘fast food’ because they’re ready to eat in a flash.  Clean it, dry it and store it.

 

Break bread with friends and family.  Nothing like gathering people you love around the table or sharing food with someone.  It not only brings you closer together, it helps avoid waste.  Swap nights where one cooks and the other cleans up and bring a little extra to work to share with your cohorts.  It’s amazing what a little food can do to break the ice, too!

Give it back to the earth. Collect that organic goodness and complete the life cycle.  Compost is one of the best way to feed your garden, flowers and herbs.   Most local waste management companies will even provide one to you at little or no cost.  For more info on becoming a safer, cleaner composter, click here for a how-to primer.

*Source:  Dept. of Agriculture, Science NOW.

How can you make every bite more earth wise?  Try these 6 on for size.

Avoid Take Out. According to cleanair.org, the US population tosses out paper bags & plastic cups, forks & spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times! That $.99 burrito may seem cheaper and more convenient in the short run but all that packaging – disposable trays, bags, cups and cutlery – has to go somewhere!

Make a list, shop for it once. Gas has gone through the roof! If you make a list, shop for your ingredients once, and plan your meals for the week, you can maximize your resources and time. Store them in reusable containers and take them to work and have plenty ready for the kids’ lunchboxes. Getting organized will save you time and after all, who has time to waste?

Shop seasonally. The further food has to travel, the longer the carbon footprint behind it. When it comes to fresh fruit and veggies, check to see if they’ve trekked around the globe before you buy them. The NRDC’s Simple Steps website is a good resource to find fresh produce in season depending on where you live and the time of year.

Meat-less. It’s estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef compared to about 200 pounds of tofu. Cutting down on meat consumption just once a week can also reduce your risk of heart disease by almost 20, according to the Meatless Monday campaign. Check out our featured recipe below.

Go wild fish. When it comes to seafood, opt for wild and line caught varieties over farm raised, which can often be confined, medicated and fed dried food pellets made up of fish oil and fish meal (cannibal fish?). Plus,farm raised fish have been found to contain lower omega-3 levels and higher omega-6 fatty acid levels, a pro-inflammatory that you want to try and avoid.

Pay it forward. Supporting companies that use sustainable ingredients, processes and packaging while giving back to the environment and their local economies can continue to pay it forward with your purchase. Look for these practices on their packaging, social media and year end reports. Even if these products and services cost a little more, look at it as an investment into the future.

The Fit Foody…bringing you all the food that’s fit to eat.

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