A campaign called Save The Food from the National Resources Defense Council is encouraging people to consider how their meal planning not only saves their budget, but how it saves the planet. According to the NRDC, 40% of the food produced in the United States is never eaten. The majority of that waste comes from consumers, rather than farmers or grocery stores. On average we throw away what equates to $120 a month in food.
The NRDC has a few tips for how our food habits can aid this issue over time. For one, you can start buying more frozen fruits, vegetables, and fish as most food gets thrown away simply because it went bad before there was time to cook it. If you know you always eat fresh strawberries right away, but your broccoli tends to get moldy in the back of the fridge, opt to buy it frozen - it'll still be there when you decide you absolutely must eat something green.
Another reason food gets wasted is due to people's fear of eating "ugly vegetables."
Lots of produce in grocery stores have been carefully picked over to make them conform as much as possible for people's standards of attractive food. No twisted carrots, or brown spotted potatoes. All these foods are perfectly find to eat, but they end up in waste dumps instead of on plates. Luckily, more people are realizing how much waste this conformity produces.
Business Insider reported on Imperfect, a company based in California, that deliberately delivers that ugly food to your doorstep. The organization "rescues" blemished produced and distributes it to subscribers, sort of like a CSA but for conventional produce that doesn't fit the standards of a chain store. And it's much cheaper!
Another suggestion that NRDC makes is to reconsider what part of a plant you consider food, like using the stem of cilantro for a lovely dip, not just the leaves:
Obviously, a lot of these tips are predicated on having time for cooking and preparing your own food, so we'll just leave you with one of the simplest but perhaps most transformative tip—always make a grocery list.
Showing up at the grocery store when you're hungry and disorganized is an almost guaranteed way to overspend. You'll probably buy stuff you don't need, especially impulse choices that are high in calories and low in health. You may not have the time to prepare all your meals, but taking a moment to make a list will save you time and money down the line. Now, go puree a delicious strawberry daiquiri—and don't forget to use the bruised bits.