reducing food waste

Double down on reducing food waste

Here are 5 tips for reducing food waste and saving your food & money.

By Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc

Reducing food waste at home is a priority issue for the National Zero Waste Council. Did you know that Canadian households waste more food than they realize?

Think for a moment – what foods do you throw away most often? Fruits and vegetables? Milk? Meat? Cereals? 

If you said fruit and vegetables, you’re not alone! So much is wasted each year. Recent research in Canada tells us that almost two-thirds of food scraps that end up as kitchen waste could have been eaten.

The good news is that there are many things you can do help ensure that the energy, water, and land resources that go into growing our food are not wasted.

Here are five tips from Nutrition For Non-Nutritionists to help you save your food, money and reduce waste:

Think differently about food waste

Because fruit and vegetables have the highest rate of waste, think differently about the food you would usually toss out. How can you use up the broccoli stems, cilantro stems, and maybe even banana peels in recipes that taste great and reduce waste? Use all the edible parts of produce – leaves, peels, seeds, stalks, and stems. For some creative and fresh ideas, check out a new IKEA cookbook filled with recipes that use kitchen scraps.

Make sustainable food decisions

Caring for the environment is everyone’s responsibility. Consider ways you can bring food to your table while protecting some natural resources. Can you build a healthy relationship with food, and value its origin and quality? Can you buy foods with less packaging or recyclable packaging when possible? Learn more about making impactful choices from credible sources like Dietitians of Canada, 2020, Advocacy /Priority Issues and Actions/ Food and Nutrition Policy and Health Canada 2021, Health Canada Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy.

Talk to farmers

Take a moment to remember farmers who work to produce our food every day. If you get a chance, talk to farmers at farmers’ markets or farm stands to discover more about the food they produce and how they manage resources and care for their environment. Farmers can tell you the story behind the foods they grow. Take a farm tour either virtually or in-person to meet the farmers and see things firsthand. Be curious and open-minded – you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll learn to support your informed and confident food choices. In the meantime, if you’d like to discover more about Canadian food and farming stories, check out Canadian Food Focus, which shares food and nutrition blogs.

Plan out your meals

Buy and eat the amount of food that you need to help reduce waste. Resist the urge to overbuy fresh produce because it’s the food that’s most likely to get tossed. Plan a weekly “must-go” meal that cleans out your fridge. In a recent study by Hellmann’s, food waste was reduced by one-third when participants planned just one weekly meal that used up soon-to-expire ingredients. In your meal plan, you can also use perishable foods and leftovers to create “planned-over” meals. Cook and eat once, then create an entirely different second meal with the same ingredients for your next meal or two. For some quick and tasty examples of “cook once, eat twice” recipes that will help you reduce food waste, check out the Guelph Family Health Study’s cookbook.

Minimize wasted food at your table

Serve sensible, smaller portions. This way, you’re not scraping uneaten food into the waste bin or encouraging overconsumption as a way to reduce food waste. Alternatively, consider serving food family-style where everyone can serve themselves and take the amount they wish to eat. If you cooked too much food, you can repurpose it or freeze leftovers for another meal.

Let’s reduce food waste together! Nutrition For Non-Nutritionists also offers virtual workshops and cooking demos on reducing food waste at your organization and your family table.

Nutrition For Non-Nutritionists is currently celebrating its 15th anniversary! As a celebration, it is offering 15 per cent off its online course or course modules. Register here!

Lucia Weiler is a Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist, and Co-Founder of Nutrition For Non-Nutritionists. As a leading global consulting agency, N4NN offers nutrition training workshops and learning solutions for food/beverage professionals. Work with N4NN for food innovation, menu development, labelling support, strategic marketing, trends data, and media/ambassador communications. Contact N4NN at n4nn.ca, info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com or on Instagram at @Nutrition4NonNutritionists. 

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