Food waste is a major issue worldwide.
About a third of all food worldwide, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), goes to waste annually.
Over 40% of food wastage in developing countries occur on farms, and during processing and storage. However, 40% of food waste in developed nations occur at home and in stores.
According to FAO estimates, food waste in developed countries is almost the same as sub-Sahara Africa’s net food production.
Food waste, according to Ellen Gustafson, Food Tank founder, is immoral because over 1 billion people worldwide go to sleep hungry. However, it’s also a root cause of many environmental issues.
Reducing food waste is beneficial in many ways. Some benefits include:
- Buying less food saves money
- Reduces carbon footprint
- Lowers landfill methane emissions
- Conserves natural resources to prevent pollution
- Supports local communities through food donations
With benefits ranging from improved food security to financial gains and environmental benefits, you’ll want to reduce food wastage. What’s more, it can reduce the risk of an emergency medical situation.
Here’s how to minimize food wastage:
Top 10 Tips to Food Waste Reduction and Medical Emergencies
- Shop smart – buy only what you need
Don’t buy more food than you need.
Buying food in bulk is convenient but often results in food waste. Visit a local grocery every few days in a week to avoid bulk shopping.
Use up all your food before replenishing your stock. Create a shopping list to avoid impulse buying. Stick to the list to ensure you only buy what you need to avoid food waste.
- Adopt correct food storage
Poor food storage results in massive waste.
Food spoilage, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council, is a leading cause of food waste in UK households.
Store fruits and veggies properly to avoid premature ripening and rotting of your food supply. For example, never refrigerate tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, garlic, and onions. Store them at room temperature.
Make sure that foods that produce ethylene gas aren’t stored together with other food types to reduce spoilage. The gas fosters food ripening, leading to spoilage. Ethylene-producing foods include:
- Green onions
Foods such as apples, potatoes, berries, leafy greens, and peppers are sensitive to ethylene. Keep them away from ethylene-producing foods to prevent premature spoilage.
- Preserve, preserve, preserve
Pickling and fermenting food preservation techniques have been in use since time immemorial.
Dating back to 2400 BC, pickling makes use of vinegar and brine. Other methods you can use to preserve food and reduce waste include:
The food preservation techniques will reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. What’s more, they’re simple and fun methods of preserving food.
For example, you can pickle fresh carrots or can excess ripe apples for making applesauce. You’ll end up with a tasty, long-lasting treat for the entire family.
- Don’t ignore “ugly” fruits and veggies
Avoid overlooking fruits and veggies that look ugly for those that appeal to the eye. Whether your fruits and veggies look good to the eyes or not, they all have similar nutrition content and taste.
Most groceries buy only flawless fruits and vegetables because consumers demand perfect-looking produce, leading to food waste.
Some top grocery chains such as Whole Foods offer fruits and veggies without appealing look at discount prices to reduce waste. This explains the magnitude of the perfectionist consumer attitude towards farm produce.
Whether you buy your veggies and fruits at a local store or directly from farmers, choose imperfect-looking produce to help reduce waste.
- Unclutter your refrigerator
Keep your fridge well-stocked and organized to eradicate clutter. This ensures that no food gets hidden and easily forgotten, leading to food waste.
With an organized fridge, you can easily access all foods in storage and even tell when they were last bought. Use the “first in, first out” FIFO method to organize your fridge.
This technique ensures that newly bought foods are kept behind and older ones at the front for faster consumption. Using older food first helps reduce waste.
- Refrigerate leftovers to reduce food waste and eliminate the need for emergency care
Keep leftovers in a transparent airtight container to ensure you don’t forget it once in the fridge. Designate days to reheat and eat leftovers instead of cooking meals afresh to help reduce waste.
It also saves you money and time.
Make sure the leftovers are stored properly to avoid food poisoning. This can help reduce the need for a medical emergency.
However, you can invest in a mobile help solution to stay away from food that has spoiled and access medical alert for immediate care, if necessary. Alternatively, opt for a medical alert system designed specifically for the elderly.
Access to a lively wearable or mobile for seniors is a solid first step to urgent medical care in case of an attack or food poisoning.
However, you can store your leftovers properly to better protect your health and avoid the need for emergency health care.
- Eat fruits, vegetables and chicken with the skin
When preparing meals, many people remove the skin of vegetables, fruits and chicken, causing wastage. Poultry skin and those of fruits and veggies contain the most nutrients.
For instance, the skin of apples is rich in vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and minerals. Triterpenoids are antioxidants found in the skin of apples; they help fight radicals, cancer-causing agents.
Other edible foods with nutritious skin include:
Eating the skin of various foods is economical and delicious, atop reducing wastage of food.
- Prepare homemade stock
Use excess food to prepare homemade stock.
Vegetable stalks, tops, peels, and other leftover scraps can help make stock from your own kitchen. Add butter or olive oil and water in a cooking pot and simmer in low heat to prepare a tasty veggie broth.
You can also use meat bones, chicken carcass and other meaty leftovers to prepare broth to reduce waste. Mix with herbs, vegetables, and water to prepare a delicious homemade stock or broth.
Other ways to reduce food waste include:
- Control serving sizes
- Save pumpkin, butternut and acorn seeds for squashing
- Blend stems and stalks of fruits and veggies, including herbs into a nutritious smoothie
- Check food expiration dates
- Create a compost pit for your kitchen garden
With these tips, you reduce food waste in your household and lower the risk of food poisoning, eliminating the need for emergency medical care.