Happy Earth Day! At SAGE, our focus on sustainability means doing what’s right for people and the planet. To participate in EARTHDAY.ORG's Earth Day 2022 theme — Invest In Our Planet — we're focusing on minimizing food waste to help reduce our carbon footprint.
According to Feeding America, 108 billion pounds of food is wasted in the U.S. every year. Moreover, 58% of the food produced in Canada is lost or thrown out, according to Second Harvest Food Rescue. When food waste ends up in landfills, it produces greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases negatively impact the environment and contribute to climate change.
To help minimize waste in the communities we serve, we use seasonal menus, source locally, cook in small batches, compost when possible, and more. But did you know that you can help minimize food waste at home? Here are a few simple things you can do that’ll make a big difference:
- Take note of what’s already in your fridge and pantry. Keep these items in mind as you plan your meals and create your shopping list.
- Shop with purpose.
- Stick to your list and avoid impulse buys from endcap displays.
- Look for imperfect produce items — they’re safe to eat but often get left behind.
- Buy fresh items in smaller amounts more frequently. If you buy items in bulk, check that they have a longer expiration date.
- Store appropriately. Check your fridge and freezer supply often and designate a space for food that needs to be eaten soon. These guides offer tips on food storage and ways to maximize the shelf life of food.
- Recycle those nutrients back into the earth. Find a local compost program or start one in your yard for a simple, fun family project.
- Cook creatively! Add carrot tops and celery leaves to soups for extra flavor; create delicious slaws with broccoli stems; or use citrus peels as a fresh, fun garnish or mix the zest into olive oil.
- Get the whole family involved. Start an herb garden or plant some fruits and vegetables with the kids. Create a recipe from scratch with foods you already have and prepare it together.
Check out this Dietitians Corner video to learn more about minimizing food waste at home.
Like we mentioned, small changes make a big impact. For example, the next time you use broccoli, instead of throwing out the stems, add them to a recipe like this delicious Apple-Broccoli Salad!
2 broccoli bunches 1 apple
⅔ cup vanilla yogurt ¼ cup unsalted toasted sunflower seeds
¼ cup seedless golden raisins 2 tablespoons green onion
STEP 1: On a clean, sanitized cutting board: Cut broccoli into florets, then thinly slice the stems. Core and slice apple. Chop green onion.
STEP 2: Place broccoli florets and stems into boiling water for several minutes to partially cook. Drain, then immediately submerge into ice water. Let sit until broccoli is cool. Drain well.
STEP 3: In a bowl, combine broccoli, apple slices, yogurt, sunflower seeds, raisins, and green onion; mix well. Cover and chill.