This is another topic in the Nutrition course I am creating for my teen. This one, in particular has rubbed me the wrong way. In the USA we have one side of the political aisle, and maybe both, that complains about people on Food Stamps, WIC, Welfare and any other host of programs that benefit the poor. Yet, when you watch the video below you will see exactly how much food is wasted in Canada, where the video was created, and the USA. It is staggering the amount of food that is simply thrown away by grocery stores, restaurants and yes wealthier households, when there are people with food insecurity in our country. Food insecurity is defined as people who do not know where their next meal will come from, or people who can not afford the food where they live and or don’t have access to healthy foods due to living in food desert. The video is shocking! It is possible that we could eliminate the need for food stamps, WIC, Welfare, etc if food was not just thrown away when it is perfectly edible. Governments have a responsibility to stop this. If you read yesterday’s post about childhood obesity, then today should upset you even more.
When you look at Feeding America’s website, a great organization btw, who is working hard to feed needy people, you will see that they have huge monetary deficits to feed these people. So, all of this food is going to waste and rather than the government doing something about it, citizens get asked to donate money to these organizations. This is so absurd. Now, I will admit I am ignorant to the stupid politics involved in all of this, and all politics is stupid. So, I am sure there is some insanely stupid, or just plain lazy reason for why this has to be this way. Misfits Market, Imperfect Foods and Flashfood are some other great companies who are trying to reduce food waste and get healthier food options to people. However, they still cost money, and are not always affordable for people. If it is going into a trash heap anyways, why can it not just be given to people?
Watch the video, you will be stunned! But, food waste can also begin in the home. Wealthier families waste a ton of food also. They buy way more than they need or will even eat, and yep into the trash heap it goes. We have been guilty of this until I really started learning about it and paying attention to it. I was embarrassed at the amount of food we were wasting, and we are not even a wealthier family. We are just an average family. So, what do we do instead? First, you have to set a reasonable budget to spend on food. For us that is 50 dollars a week, for a family of 3. This is for food only, not toiletries, or cleaning supplies. With the exception of Thanksgiving week, we have stuck to it so far. We have plenty of food, leftovers, snacks, foods we like and we are certainly not hungry. Second, every week I do inventory of all the food we have on hand. This includes the pantry items, refrigerator and freezer. It all gets put on the counter, so I can see it, and then third my daughter and I create a menu of what everyone can agree on to eat. I am following low carb for weight loss reasons, so I just adjust for me. That might mean I just take the noodles off my lasagna, or I don’t eat bread with it. Once the menu is created we make a grocery list and decide which store we will shop at. This varies according to what other things we need to do. For example, it is Christmas time and I need to get some gifts in the city where Aldis is located. So, that is where we will shop this week, and Publix for a couple of things I can not get at Aldi’s. If after we buy what we need and there is some money leftover, we can save it for something odd that might come up, or buy meat if it is a great deal, and put in the freezer. Last but not least use your leftovers, all of them. Try not to throw them out. If you have pets and made food that is safe for pets, give it to them. Use veggie scraps to make broth, or for composting. I have not done either of those yet, but I do have a small garden going, and composting would be great. We have used up most of our stock inventory. So, I may need to increase our food budget in the future. We will see. I don’t want to, lol. I am used to that extra money now.
Below are links to read more about food waste, and what you can do to help.