Founded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on October 16, 1945, World Food Day is a day to focus on reducing hunger and food waste across the globe. In California, we are lucky to benefit from living close to the source of much of our food, but with the worlds growing population, climate shifts, and increasing demand, our food system is stretched to its limits. We easily take for granted the abundance all around us, while both our budgets and waistlines are growing as a result of access to more food than we need.
There are easy steps you can take to reducing food waste whether at home or away. Start by thinking realistically about what a healthy portion for yourself or your family looks like. When eating out, maybe that means sharing a meal or choosing an appetizer rather than an entrée. At home, start by using a smaller plate. Extra servings can be packed up for lunch or frozen for a second meal. If you are someone who doesn’t like leftovers, I heard these people do exist, keep in mind how much you need from meal to meal when you grocery shop. However, I love the challenge of re-purposing another meal’s ingredients into my next day’s lunch or dinner.
With fresh fruits and veggies, shopping more than once a week is a way to reduce excess and make sure what you have on hand is fresh. If that’s not possible, consider freezing produce before it spoils to use in smoothies or soups. You can toss fresh greens in a bag in the freezer, and even chop up broccoli stalks and freeze after cooking the crowns. Another option is to shop for produce that lasts longest, such as squash, onions, carrots, apples, and citrus, only once or twice a month, and save your weekly shopping for more perishable items such as berries and greens.
Many other extras in your kitchen can be utilized in creative ways. Leftover bread can be made into croutons or bread crumbs. Put the day’s coffee in the fridge for a cold cup later in the day. Boil up eggs and keep on hand as a snack. Food is a precious resource. It deserves not be wasted in order to serve the global population. If you’d like to learn more about ending hunger and reducing food waste, check out www.fao.org/world-food-day/theme/en/ or look for your local food bank at www.feedingamerica.org/find-your-local-foodbank/.
Easy ways to use up leftovers-
- Salad- Using whatever greens you have as a base, chop up and add whatever veggies you have on hand. Make it heartier by sprinkling in cheese, nuts, seeds, and/or adding canned beans.
- Bread, wraps and tortillas- Add cheese or hummus or both, add veggies. Heat or serve cold. If you have eggs, scramble and add leftover veggies or meat for burritos. These can be frozen and heated quickly in the microwave for breakfast or lunch.
- Pasta- Add fresh or cooked veggies, beans, cheese, sprinkle with olive oil and toss.
- Ground or shredded chicken or beef- Add to tomato sauce for a quick pasta meal, or saute with veggies for a burrito or wrap.