We’ve all been there before - the broccoli stems left over after a dinner party, strawberries that you meant to eat but didn’t get to, the apple peels left behind due to a picky toddler, browned bananas that are a little too sweet to eat - all tossed into the trash and wasted. 40-percent of all food produced is wasted while at the same time 1 in 7 children are struggling with hunger according to Feeding America.
Believe it or not, there are some staggering nutritional benefits to lowering your food waste. Every item of fresh produce that gets tossed is a lost opportunity to get vitamins and minerals from the foods we eat. A study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that food thrown away each day could provide 1,217 calories to each person in the United States each day, and the equivalent to 19% of fiber, 43% of vitamin C, 48% of iron, 29% of calcium, and 18% of potassium recommended for daily nutrition.
Here at The Nashville Food Project, we work every day to reduce the amount of edible food being wasted in Nashville and increase the nutrition available to our community. Already this year, TNFP has prevented over 42,000 pounds of food from going into the landfill. We’re always striving to be good stewards of all the food that comes through our doors, using every edible component of each item however we can. This means we have to get creative in the kitchen! Below are some fun tips and recipes to keep food and nutrients on our plates instead of in the trash.
The majority of the nutrients are lost by throwing away the peels on fruit and vegetables. The peel of an apple contains half of the apple’s fiber and four times more vitamin K than the flesh. Recipe: Baked Apple Peel Chips
Citrus peels contain twice as much vitamin C than what is inside. Citrus shavings can be grated to add natural flavor to salads, used to make salad dressings and cooked in soups and sauces. Recipe: Orange Vinaigrette Using Peel
Save the stock from your cooked meats and vegetables! Using stock instead of water to cook things like rice and pasta gives the food more flavor, and offers a variety of vitamins and minerals. For even more incredible flavor, throw in your Parmesan rind. Recipe: Vegetable Stock
Before you throw away those stems… broccoli stems contain more calcium, iron and vitamin C than the florets. Recipe: Broccoli Stem Noodles with Sesame Ginger-Dressing
For more insight, recipes, and tips on reducing food waste in your home, check out savethefood.com.