ANCHORAGE - It’s embarrassing and shameful. According to a national nonprofit, Americans waste almost half the food we buy. The National Resources Defense Council says restaurants and grocery stores are partly to blame for throwing billions of dollars of food away every year. But the average American family plays a role as well.
UAA Professor of Nutrition Kendra Sticka said Americans like it big, and buying in bulk seems to have become a national past time. But bargain-sized containers can have a downside when it comes to wasting food.
“We tend to like bulk. We think the more we can get for our money the better and so we tend to get larger quantities, but we just aren’t able to use it all before it goes bad.”
Sticka says there are simple things people can do to help cut down on food waste. Planning your meals before you set foot in the store is a good way to guard against buying things you won’t use or don’t need.
She also says it’s important to make a list and stick with it.
And if you are buying in bulk, she recommends freezing. You can break down big bags into smaller portions; the same goes for cooked food and casseroles.
“Because no matter how great your lasagna is you can only eat it for so many days in a row. So by freezing some of it and saving some of it for later, that can be a really great way to reduce waste.”
Another tip is to rotate the food in your fridge. Put newer food in the back and older food up front, that way you’ll be less likely to let food go bad. And when fruit starts to look a little ugly, think smoothies or banana bread.
Sticka says it may take a little extra effort to waste less but in the end it will benefit us all.