Preventing Food Waste

Eliana Lakritz MS RD LDN, Clinical Dietitian, Baystate Noble Hospital (WNG file photo)

In this country, food waste in the household, schools, hospitals, commercial businesses and many other industries is a primary area of concern. The National Resources Defense Council reported that in America, about 40% of edible food goes uneaten. Most of the problems do not stem from lack of production. In fact, America produces 36 million tons of food while 49 million people face hunger around the world.The main concerns regarding food waste lie from farm to fork. While much of this is beyond consumers’ control, there are some steps you can take in your household and as part of your lifestyle to reduce your individual contribution to global food waste.

When At the Store…

  • Use a list: buy only what you need rather than buying impulsively. That way, you know you will use the product and it won’t sit on the shelf/refrigerator and go to bad.
  • Buy what you need: If you only need a certain amount of a product, stick to the exact quantity rather than buying in bulk (unless you have a good storage plan).
  • Buy imperfect produce: Although many of consumers search the produce stack for that perfect item, it is usually ok to eat produce with slight imperfections. This helps prevent perfectly good items from being thrown out.

At Home…

  • Store food properly: If grains go bad quickly in your house (cereal/crackers/chips), it may be worthwhile to get some airtight containers to transfer them into. If produce is the main concern, make sure that you are storing it properly. Different kinds of produce require different storage techniques. Refer to the FDA website for best storage tips for your favorite produce to maximize on shelf life.
  • FIFO (First in, First Out): When you purchase items frequently, make sure to store the open containers in front of the new, unopened ones. Use these older products first to prevent waste.
  • Eat Leftovers: Using leftover meals the following day or two can help prevent food waste. It may be helpful to store them in clear containers to remind you that they’re there.
  • Use the freezer: Freezingleftover food extends shelf life. Wrap food in heavy freezer paper, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil. Date the items that you freeze and use the oldest food first.
  • Support the food insecure: Donate uneaten, untouched food that you are not planning on using

If you are interested in learning more about nutrition counseling sessions with a registered dietitian at Baystate Noble Hospital, please call 413-568-2811 ex: 5671 for more information.

To Top