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Food Waste

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I don't very often waste food: what doesn't get used in my lunch salads goes into my Saturday soup pot. Suppers every night for the following week.

But returning from recent time away on vacation, there were a few sad items that had to be pitched: yogourt past its date, wilted Italian parsley, some leftover Swiss chard and so forth.

And coincidentally, I read yesterday two articles about food waste from opposite ends of the spectrum: people who cannot afford to waste any food at all (and so buy stuff that they know their kids will eat, which may not be healthiest possible choices for the kids); and people who think they're going to eat the stuff bought in vast quantities at Costco or other discounters, and then go out for dinner instead or decide they don't "feel" like salad, and throw it out.

So situation one is strongly related to childhood obesity. Fact is, most tiny kids will refuse a new and unfamiliar food 5-18 times before they accept it. And if mum's food budget is tight, she cannot afford to present avocado or steamed broccoli that number of times, to be thrown out, when she knows her children will readily chow down on the deep-fried chicken nuggets and fries, even though these items have much less food value (and are deliberately manufactured to be uber-palatable).

And situation two which does result in food waste if excess quantities of healthy food are purchased and then thrown out, can also be strongly related to obesity: when it's not the salad that's bought and thrown out, bur rather the giant cheesecake with servings for 24 and eating all of them within a few day divvied up among 4 people.

As my mother used to say, "Better it goes to waste than to my waist!"

Where does most food waste occur? Not by farmers, not by distributors, not at grocery stores or in restaurants but in our homes. Most of us buy more than we need, and then change our minds because we don't "feel" like eating what we bought.

I do spend a lot of money on food -- but we almost never eat out.

And wasting food on the rare occasions when we don't get around to eating it really pains me. It does!!

Food waste experts recommend shopping every day for the freshest offerings, or every two to three days: then there's less waste. People are much more likely not to waste food if they have only a small quantify of food available that they really feel in the mood to eat.

For most of us, however, other time pressures mean groceries are bought once a week or even less often: stocking up at the big box with manufactured foods.

I don't much enjoy grocery shopping and don't want to go more often than I do: but maybe I should reconsider that.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Buying and cooking for one and not having waste is a challenge but mostly for greens. A package of arugula means I need to eat it every day for at least 4-5 days. If I miss a day for some reason, it becomes a bit stinky. So I throw it out. I try not to waste but it happens. I do root around at the grocery store to find the longest x dates offered. I will eat past the x date if it smells ok. The nose knows.
    1592 days ago
    I buy the lion's share of my grocery purchases in the produce section, which means shopping more than once a week.

    I'm with DOGLADY on yogurt.
    1595 days ago
    we are pretty good about making a game of how long can we go without going to the store - and eating what we have and making do. i also save all my vegetable peels (and sad vegetables) to make my own broth each week. green and fuzzy is when it gets tossed, though...
    1596 days ago
    I doubt there is much food waste in your house. In following you with The Beck Book I know how well you plan every meal. do you really want to consume yogurt that could make you ill? No. rotten veggies? No. Put away tha tpain and know you do so much bette than most in this world!! Do you know that the Krispy Kream doughnut chain actually has doughnuts dumped into a trash can that gets thrown away because they fear some homeless person might sue them if they distributed them to the homeless? OK, fried dough is not the best food for the homeless, but really?
    1597 days ago
  • GABY1948
    I don't LIKE wasting food either but coming from where I spent my life (336) it absolutely will NOT go to my waist! My kids (both were fat at one time) have "gotten" this too. Here, we feed lots of wild animals so NONE goes to waste at all!

    EXCELLENT blog for sure! And, John has never thought twice about throwing away food he just doesn't want! Learned MUCH from him!
    1597 days ago
    While consumers definitely are the major 'wasters' of food, the entire supply chain contributes, especially in the freggies category...
    1597 days ago
    There is a balance between not wasting food and not letting it go to your waist. I mainly try to use food..but do not hesitate to throw our food that I will not nor should eat.
    1597 days ago
    I hate wasting food too.
    In our family I have the highest awareness for this, and that means i'm the one who assembles lunch / dinner from food of leftovers, just before "best before" dates.
    Oh well... as long as I make a decent meal from them it is OK : )

    1597 days ago
    Yogurt past its date? Isn't that the point of yogurt? It's soured milk. I only toss yogurt if it's truly turned bad - moldy or curdled.

    I used to waste a lot of food, but now that I plan my meals, I have very little leftover. If it doesn't get eaten by Saturday, it goes in a soup for Saturday and Sunday lunch. Buying frozen vegetables made a big difference in not having food go to waste, too. I also toss food in the freezer if it looks like we aren't going to get to it. That will also end up in a soup at some point or another. In fact, I made soup last weekend and had half a can of crushed tomatoes and half a can of chick peas left, so I put them in a freezer bag and froze them. They'll be soup come Saturday morning.
    1598 days ago
    Given my druthers, shopping daily for "just enough" could become a great way to get out of the house in retirement... have to consider it. But between work and training, once to twice a week, and only for what I need at the moment works best for now. Shop to the list!

    emoticon To the freshest most attractive food we can find. And to the soup pot for the leftovers before they get too far gone. emoticon emoticon
    1598 days ago
  • _LINDA
    No food waste here. I pretty much know how much I need to buy and how long it will last as I have been buying freggies for over 20 years. The green boxes keep larger quantities from going bad too quickly. I buy frozen quite often, especially in fruits until things come into season. I love Costco as I save so much on my staples, like egg whites, yogurt, raw green tea, organic baby spinach, snap peas, sweet potatoes. Sadly I am saying goodbye to my beloved grapefruit cups -they add cane sugar to them :-( I used to eat regular grapefruit, but cutting it open and eating it normally became a challenge with my badly damaged hands. So getting pre-washed and pre-cut freggies and fruit have become an unfortunate necessity for me. There is some wiggle room for dairy products, but I usually have never needed to push that. The yogurt I buy from Costco will be used up in time as long as I have it daily which I do.
    My sister is like Don, but I refuse to eat veggies turned almost black lol and told her as much when I saw the condition of what she was offering this weekend :-P The key is to not let them get that far.
    1598 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    1598 days ago
    DDorn is like my DH.
    I have a shelf in my pantry "Joe's Antique Food - DO NOT EAT"

    I rotate things so that doesn't happen to the stuff I eat.

    As for perishables like fruit and veggies. We gobble them up fast.
    When salad greens get too wilted, I chop them up into my baked omelets.

    I hate to waste food, but I don't want it on my waist either - a real balancing act,

    We have a compost heap too now that we live in the country.
    1598 days ago
    Soup is my go to for using up veggies that are entering the "gotta be used now" stage. That saves a lot of waste for me. Fruits I use in fruit salads to when I need to use up a large quantity of fruit.

    It helps.
    1598 days ago
    Don't think you meant this .... As my mother used to say, "Better it goes to waist than to my waste!" ... did you?


    Any vegetable waste goes into our compost heap. I don't like wasting food either. But, I do feel better about returning it to the soil rather than dumping it in the trash.
    1598 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5288236
    I like your soup idea. Going to try it! emoticon
    1598 days ago
    What a great blog on food waste! Thanks for sharing! Wishing you a Bright and Beautiful Wednesday!
    Hugs and love, xoxo
    1598 days ago
    When I have a specific meal to plan with fresh food, I shop the same day. I've learned to embrace frozen veggies.
    Like you, I like to make "leftover" soup.
    1598 days ago
    I think it's almost inevitable that some food sometimes may have to be disposed. It goes to my garden so I don't really feel bad about it and it happens once in a while. I did have to learn though. And I agree with Don. If it's past date, I smell it, try some, if it tastes and smells OK, it's edible.
    1598 days ago
    1) I buy at Costco - rarely wasting anything.So I am the exception.
    2) Those are "sell by" dates...designed to protect the producer (and not the consumer).

    Wasn't raised to waste...we composted. On a large scale since we couldn't sell everything (the market has always been finicky and things that are perfectly good inside don't get bought if the outside has a blemish).

    Cultivating a love for leftovers is something we should teach our children. Along with clean up your plate.
    1598 days ago
    I feel bad about not eating all of my food at restaurants - somehow the portions in South America tend to be absolutely huge! And staying in hotels, we don't always have a fridge or microwave or anything. I take the leftovers when I can, and I often ask for smaller portions (but no one believes me). I refuse to stuff myself just for the principle of cleaning a plate, especially when the standard is what seems to be a double portion.

    But I have seen restaurant staff sit down and finish my plate of food. Odd to us, but perfectly reasonable way to not waste food.
    1598 days ago
    Yogurt past its date...? Pshaw...no problem for moi! I'm so rabid about not wasting food that it sorta has to be green, fuzzy and crawling along the counter before I'll pass on eating it...lol!

    1598 days ago
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