In the journey of growing up, I’ve always heard one sentence after completing my supper:“Clean your plate! There are starving kids in Africa.”
Well, my reply always had been: “So, go and give them this food. “
I never took this sentence from my parents so seriously until I had a glance at what is to starve for food myself. That started happening during college when I was studying late night in my hostel and I had to wait till morning to get something.
Of course, my hunger was nothing compared to people who are really suffering from starvation and malnutrition. Yet, the horrible feeling of my stomach asking for food while there was nothing I could do about it made me understand why my parents kept telling me to value my meals.
One fine day when I actually watched a documentary on how these kids in Africa and various parts of the world were really starving, and I felt guilty about myself. I felt guilty about how I never respected food ☹
Over a billion tonnes of food is wasted worldwide each year.
“When food goes to waste, so does everything it takes to get it to our plates – water, land, energy, and money,” as said by Dana Gunders, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council in the US.
She added “A whopping 24 per cent of global agricultural freshwater is used to grow food that is never eaten. In fact, if global food waste was a country, it would have the largest carbon footprint after the US and China. And at least in the US, food is also the number one product being tossed into landfills. It’s tragic to see this waste alongside the fact that when over 800 million people are hungry.”
We all know that there’s a lot more to add, but let’s not be depressed and actually talk about how we can prevent food wastage.
It all starts from our own home 😊
1. Practice FIFO
FIFO stands for First In, First Out.
While we unpack groceries, we should move older products to the front portion of the fridge/freezer/pantry and put new products in the back.
This way, we’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires and prevent it from being thrown away into landfills.
There are a lot of food items that can be frozen. There’s a misconception that frozen food lose their nutritional values.
Everything compared to fresh food has lesser nutritional value, but sometimes even less is enough!
Besides this, frozen food also remains safe indefinitely. You can freeze fresh fruits and make a nice cold juice with them later, for instance.
Good News: freezing food items also helps in increasing the expiry date.
You can also designate a week in which you write down everything you throw out on a regular basis. For instance: tossing half a loaf of bread each week?
Maybe it’s time to start freezing half that loaf the moment you buy it, so it doesn’t go stale before you’re able to eat it.
The best part is: this indirectly also helps you in saving money 😉
3. Take Stock
Note the upcoming expiry dates on foods you already have at home, and plan meals from the products that are nearest to their expiry dates.
On that note, also keep a list of what’s in the freezer and when each item was frozen. Place this on the freezer door for easy reference and use items before they pass their prime stage.
Designate one supper each week as a “use-it-up” meal.
Instead of cooking a new meal, look around in the cupboards and refrigerator for leftover items and other food that might otherwise be overlooked easily.
Food waste is indeed a very alarming and terrifying issue everyone is facing.
But, looking at the brighter side of things, it’s so easy to overcome. There are so many things you can do to help and it all starts from our own home and lifestyle.
So, let’s spread the word. Awareness is the key. This is our planet, and it’s everyone’s job to protect and preserve it before it’s too late.
Together we can fight for and achieve SDG 2: Zero Hunger!
Challenge yourself and dream big for a healthier lifestyle, and a healthier world 😊
Do you want to go deeper into the changes and get a hands-on for Zero Hunger?
Find your opportunity to Volunteer and impact sustainability at aiesec.in
If you like this post, you may also like “When will the world wake up to freedom —from pollution?”
Anisha Bhawanani is graduated in Marketing and Finance and loves writing. She is a happy go lucky girl with a head full of dreams, very passionate about traveling and exploring different cultures. One day she wants to win a man booker prize.