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Have a Plant: Fruits & Veggies for Better Health

Rescue your Fruits & Veggies

It’s National Nutrition Month, which means it’s the perfect occasion to bring back our focus to those nutrition resolutions we made in January. As a Registered Dietitian, nutrition is always top of mind for me, however, this year, sustainability, especially with food, has become a central focus. For many of us, food waste is a weekly source of guilty feelings and lost money. Who hasn’t come home from the store with virtuous bunches of kale, an exotic fruit or herbs purchased on impulse…and then watched the kale and herbs wilt, while the fancy fruit shrivels up as good cooking intentions get sidetracked? With around 40 percent of food in the United States wasted, most often after it purchased, reducing food waste—especially fruits and veggies—can not only help save us guilt and money, but also improve nutrition!1

Here are my three simple tips that can be used to help rescue your produce (and your wallets).

Tip #1: Rescue Produce
Perhaps the easiest way to reduce waste is to purchase fruits and veggies that are commonly overlooked and unloved. We’ve all been to the supermarket and sorted through the produce department on the hunt for picture perfect items, however, what happens to the less fortunate fruits and veggies that get picked over? We can purchase these less than perfect produce and help rescue it.

Tip #2: Planning Meals
We’ve all been to the supermarket without a list and had good intentions of buying ample produce to increase our intake. The problem? Good intentions are often overruled with reality. Before planning meals, reviewing the upcoming week can allow for planning only meals that will be eaten at home or packed for work and school. Then, after reviewing on-hand items for recipes, a grocery shopping list can be created to include only items that will be needed for meals and snacks. This will allow for less produce (and other food) waste at the end of the week and maximization of all that fabulous produce!

Tip #3: Using Food Scraps
Often we don’t think of our food scraps—peels, stems, rinds and tops—as waste, however, these can add up over time. By saving, veggie peels, excess herbs, and kale stems—just to name a few—fantastic vegetables broths can be made with no extra cost! These items can also be cooked into sauces or even sautéed and added to stir-fry’s.

Healthy and Happy Eating,
Emily Parent, MFCS, RD, LD

  1. Natural Resources Defense Council. (2012, August). Wasted: How America is Losing Up to 40 Percent of Its Food from Farm to Fork to Landfill. Retrieved from https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf

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