photo: iStock.com             

 

104+ Empire State Buildings stacked up
An entire football stadium filled x 365 days
$218 billion per year

What do these seemingly random figures have in common? They each illustrate the estimated amount of food wasted in America each year – approximately 38 million tons – according to foodforward.org.  And, although experts differ slightly on the exact amount due to varied definitions of “food waste” and ways of measuring, they are in agreement that the amount is far too large and that this is an issue that requires attention.

Consider how easily we tend to replace rather than repair clothing, gadgets and computers, to name a few.  In a world where so many items quickly become obsolete or are made to be disposable, a “throw away” mindset has become a normal way of life.  However, there are indicators that the pendulum is swinging more firmly back in the direction of use and re-use in several areas.  As 2017 and 2018 food trends show, the movement to raise awareness and implement strategies to reduce the amount of food wasted in both home and commercial kitchens is gaining steam.

One important step for reducing food waste is to shop wisely and realistically, purposefully purchasing what is needed and will be used.  This seemingly simple idea is actually quite effective and impactful in any kitchen setting. It not only saves food by reducing spoilage and waste but also saves money and time – all of which are good for our planet, culture and bottom line.

To ensure that food items purchased are indeed needed and used, try implementing the “Shop Your Kitchen First”  strategy. Here is how it works:

  1. “Shop Your Kitchen First” to determine what items you have available, particularly those that should be used first. Check fresh items as well as frozen and pantry items.
  2. Create menus and choose recipes that use those ingredients. Get creative! Swap out one ingredient for another to create an interesting new recipe version.  Think zucchini noodle lasagna in place of traditional pasta. Fill in with additional recipes as needed to fill out the menu.
  3. Create a shopping list using the weekly menu and adding any additional items necessary. Note the amount on hand and that which is required for each recipe.
  4. Go to the Market – It is best to purchase FRESH items weekly; FROZEN and PANTRY items may be purchased for longer term storage (up to 3 – 6 months depending on the item).  Buying in bulk can save money if storage space is available and items will indeed be used.

But what about taking advantage of specials or seasonal items found at the market that day?  Absolutely!  Just think about how to use the item in the planned menu and the amount needed.  So, if that basket of fresh, home-grown Marionberries is calling your name, great!  They would go wonderfully alongside the mushroom, spinach and feta frittata on Saturday’s menu.

HELPFUL TOOL

Have you ever stood in the market wondering how much of an item you have in the pantry or how much you really need for a recipe?  Using a tool like one of the two sample shopping lists below takes the guesswork out of shopping and can be quite helpful when implementing the “Shop Your Kitchen First” strategy.  Organizing shopping lists in this manner helps reduce overbuying and food waste, and saves money. In addition, it saves time while shopping as the items in each category are generally grouped nearby at the market.

WEEKLY SHOPPING LIST
SAMPLE #1 – DETAILED

FRESH

ITEM AMOUNT REQUIRED AMOUNT AVAILABLE PURCHASE
Mixed salad greens 10 ounces (6 cups) none 10 ounces (6 cups)

FROZEN

ITEM AMOUNT REQUIRED AMOUNT AVAILABLE PURCHASE
Sliced Peaches 8 cups 1 cup 7 cups

PANTRY

ITEM AMOUNT REQUIRED AMOUNT AVAILABLE PURCHASE
Steel Cut Oats 6 cups (minimum) ¼ cup 2 pounds (12 cups) Buy in bulk and store extra.
 
 

MISCELLANEOUS

ITEM AMOUNT REQUIRED AMOUNT AVAILABLE PURCHASE
Tissues 8 boxes none 8 boxes
 
 

 

WEEKLY SHOPPING LIST
SAMPLE #2 – STREAMLINED

FRESH

ITEM AMOUNT TO PURCHASE
Mixed salad greens 10 ounces (6 cups)

FROZEN

ITEM AMOUNT TO PURCHASE
Sliced Peaches 7 cups

PANTRY

ITEM AMOUNT TO PURCHASE
Steel Cut Oats 2 pounds (12 cups) Buy in bulk and store extra.

MISCELLANEOUS

ITEM AMOUNT TO PURCHASE
Tissues 8 boxes

 

© 2018 Love + Craft Kitchen, LLC, All Rights Reserved

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