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Zero Food Waste Goal for March

Sunday, March 03, 2013

I've got a pretty good handle on my diet and fitness goals, so I've been struggling with topics to write about. I fear long time Sparkfriends' eyes are glazing over as some of my stories are overlapping or repeating.

As I switch into maintenance focus rather than dieting, I'm going to cover more lifestyle topics. Hopefully this will be of interest to readers new and old. If there's anything you'd like me to write about specifically, feel free to write to my Sparkmail.

My first lifestyle topic that I'm going to tackle this month is 'zero food waste'. In the United States alone, we waste $165 billion dollars worth of food a year. That's about 40% of all the fertilizer, water, land and energy used to grow and move food across the country. An American family of four throws away $2,275 worth of food annually, or $189 per month.

The fertilizers and irrigation we use are very damaging to our environment. The Gulf Coast experiences dead zones every year due to the nitrogen runoffs from farms all the way up the Mississippi river, which kills fish in the Gulf of Mexico. More food is grown than we actually consume. Food that is unpurchased in grocery stores usually goes into the garbage. There are very few communities that take this food and give it to homeless shelters. It just goes to waste.

Every time I throw away a rotten cabbage that I intended to make into a soup, I feel like a failure. Starving children in Africa guilt and all. The absolute very worst is when I have to throw away meat. An animal gave its life, and because I didn't plan well enough, it was a wasted life.

This month I'm going to make it my focus to use everything.

Here are the ground rules:

- Removing the outer leaves from lettuce, cabbage and brussel sprouts for sanitary and cleanliness reasons is ok.
- Meats and veggies will be bought in smaller quantities.
- Veggies that start to look wilty get thrown in a pot for soup or stock.
- Onions, bell peppers, carrots and celery will get chopped up and refrigerated ahead of time for quick use and easy prep. They'll be more likely to be used.
- Most meat will be prepared for the freezer early in the week.
- Food prep will revolve around what most needs to be cooked first.
- Meal planning for the week penciled in advance. I'm pretty good with this already.

When my husband and I moved into the house, we had to buy a refrigerator. We bought an armoire, or French door, version where the fridge is on the top and freezer is on the bottom. All food in the fridge is at eye level. That makes it easier to see what's available and needs to be used. Hopefully this will make my goal easier!

First order of business is a bunch of tomatoes we bought last week that look like high priority. I'm going to put them in a blender to make a marinara sauce for tomorrow's dinner.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I hate it when I have to throw away food, I think this is a great idea!
    1840 days ago
    Well Done. Have you read "No Impact Man" That was the "common book" for freshman last year.
    1840 days ago
    LOL! I wouldn't worry about you boring us anytime soon!

    I don't like to cook whatsoever, though I've had to since I was about 14. Money's always been tight (and my parents/grandparents were very Depression-Era conscious) so I've always tried to waste as little food as possible. I STILL throw out more than I really should (why oh WHY did I buy all those extra cucumbers?), but every Saturday since the kids were little it was "use up the leftovers" day. I may not be a great chef from scratch but I'm a freaking genius at using up bits of this and that!

    1840 days ago
    Great plan. We do waste too much food that is not "perfect" too.
    1840 days ago
    This is a great topic! I like your plan. I struggle with the random bunch of broccoli turning yellow or not eating left overs fast enough too. I completely agree about the horrible feeling of throwing away meat. It just isn't right. Aside from the environmental factors, in Norway food is so darn expensive that it is ridiculous to be throwing anything away. I think I am going to follow your example and work on low or possibly no food waste as well...

    Thanks for the thoughts!
    1840 days ago
    Sounds like you're organizing your priorities. Remember if you pass a grocery on the way home you can pick up fresh produce every few days without having to go out of your way. That helps eliminate a lot of things from going bad in your fridge - good luck -
    1840 days ago
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