The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to “Go Further with Food” by storing food correctly to reduce waste and lower grocery bills during National Nutrition Month in March.
Registered dietitian nutritionists are uniquely qualified to help reduce food loss and waste by individuals, families, communities and businesses. About 31 percent of all edible food is wasted in the U.S., and American households throw away nearly 28 percent of fruits and vegetables.
“Far too often, good food goes bad before we get the chance to eat it,” says Melissa Majumdar, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.
“Before going to the grocery store, check inside your refrigerator. Eat what you already have at home before buying more.”
Majumdar suggests freezing extra food, such as fruits or meats to extend shelf life, and wrapping freezer items in heavy freezer paper, plastic wrap, freezer bags or foil.
“To reduce waste, also date all frozen items and use the oldest food first,” Majumdar says.
Knowing how to read a date label is also key to making sure good food isn’t wasted. The “sell by” date lets the store know when it should stop selling a package to manage inventory; “best if used by” is the last date recommended for the customer’s use of a product at its peak quality.
“Although it’s important to try to use food you've bought, if you have any doubts about it being safe to eat, throw it away,” Majumdar says.
For more food, health and fitness information go to eatright.org.