by Peyton Mayberry, LAT, ATC

Ever stop to ponder the journey of your food from fridge to fork? You’re not alone if the answer is ‘rarely.’ But here’s the reality: our daily meals often come with a side of waste – excess accoutrement, if you will. From overlooked leftovers to prematurely spoiled produce, the path from pantry to plate is rife with opportunities for food to meet its untimely demise. But fear not! We’re serving up some savory strategies to curb food waste and savor every last bite.

Food For Thought

According to Feeding America, 119 billion pounds of food is wasted in the United States each year. That equals to 130 billion meals and more than $408 billion in food tossed in the garbage. Imagine the number of people that amount of food could feed. Concern USA states the world produces enough food to feed all of its 8 billion people, yet 828 million people go hungry every day.

Looking at those statistics is staggering, but also shows the opportunity in front of us. Even small changes to the way we consume can result in large changes to the planet. Let’s work together to build a more sustainable world.

Tips For Tackling Food Waste

Food waste effects us globally, but let’s take a step back, discover some simple ways to reframe our mindset, and apply practical food waste prevention tips to our day-to-day food choices!

1. Take an inventory: How many times have we gone to the store and realized we have no idea what’s in our fridge or pantry? Make a clear list of what food we need to buy. It prevents buying too much food, duplicating products, keeps us more organized, and we’ll save on your grocery bill, too!

2. Create a meal plan: Having a list of meals and ingredients for each meal can help with grocery shopping, which ultimately means less time at your local grocery store. To make this even more impactful, make a food calendar. (More on this topic next week!)

3. Save and eat leftovers: Rather than placing leftovers in the fridge and forgetting about them, make it a priority to eat that awesome meal the next day!

4. Buy “ugly” foods: We’re not telling you to buy rotten food, but how about instead of buying a perfect round apple, choose to buy the lopsided one! It may not look as pretty, but it tastes just as good.

5. Compost: It’s not as scary and complicated as it may seem. You can even buy small composting bins to put under your sink. By composting your vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grinds, banana peels etc., you are preventing food waste and helping the soil in your yard or garden.

6. Store food appropriately: Some food waste is due to lack of education on how to store food and essentially how long it should be stored. The EPA has great information on how to store food in ways that prevent food waste!

7. Use leftovers creatively: There are many ways to take food which is beginning to spoil and use it for something else. Sustainable America has some great ideas on what you can do with food that is beginning to go bad.

Don’t commit to all of these at once. Try one or two and see how easy it can be to help reduce food waste. Build Our World to a more waste-free future.

Peyton Mayberry, LAT, ATC || Peyton Mayberry, LAT, ATC || Peyton is a Certified Athletic Trainer in Decatur, IL. She graduated from Millikin University before transplanting to Tanzania for two months. Upon her return to the States, she began her work as an Injury Prevention Specialist with Work Right NW. In her free time she enjoys going on bike rides with her husband, volunteering at after school programs with her church, and traveling (especially back to Africa whenever possible)!

Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips for the industrial athlete from Work Right NW!