Reducing food waste

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by Marie Traynor RD,
Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist at the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit

October 18-24 is Waste Reduction Week in Canada which covers a lot of topics like e-waste, plastics, and textiles but I’m going to focus on reducing food waste. It is important to acknowledge that there are people who are struggling to get food on the table. Go to the Get Help page at the United Way Leeds and Grenville website [https://uwlg.org/get-help.php] for a list of community and social services that can help.

For those of us fortunate to have food at home, it’s good to know what you have in your pantry, fridge and freezer. This will help with the first tip which is to avoid buying more food than you’ll eat before the next trip. But if you do, try to preserve it while it is still fresh. Check out recipes at Foodland Ontario so you can use vegetables and fruit before they go bad.

Foods with the oldest date, whether labelled by you or the manufacturer, are best placed at the front or top of the freezer to be closer at hand. In your pantry and cupboards, place the food with the closest expiry or best before dates at the front. And don’t forget the fridge door – some of those condiments and odds ‘n sods may be past their prime!

As a family, think about some meals you would enjoy using up the oldest foods first. Involve the kids of all ages. Children who cook use their creativity, will try new foods, and gain independence and confidence. Follow and role model safe food handling. (healthunit.org/health-information/food-safety/food-safety-at-home)

Keep a list on the fridge door of foods that you want to replace so that you can keep an eye out for when they are on sale. For more information, see the Healthy Eating and the Food Safety sections at healthunit.org or call us at 1-800-660-5853, visit us on Facebook and Twitter.

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