Ways to Become a More Sustainable Shopper & Decrease Food Waste
Written by Nicole Eckert, Holistic Nutritionist
Are you an inspired grocery shopper?
Here’s the quickest way to find out: When you walk down the aisles and fill your cart, are you energized by the fresh produce? Do you find new creative meal ideas and end up leaving with more than what was on your list?
It’s okay if you’re an inspired shopper. You should get excited about creating healthy meals, but are you honestly utilizing all of the fresh produce you’re buying? It’s a real shame to see things go to waste, especially if you’re investing in organic and local options.
It is estimated that the average consumer in both Canada and the United States throws away approximately 300 pounds of food each year. This statistic equates to about a quarter of your grocery bill ending up in the garbage.
If you find yourself purchasing fresh produce with good intentions, then you also likely feel bothered when you didn’t find the opportunity to use it.
It’s true that shopping local and organic can positively influence your health, but this is not the first step to a sustainable diet.
When fresh produce goes to waste, there’s no benefit to that. Since someone had to plant, water, harvest, package and ship that - wasted food is equal to wasted money, time, labour and resources.
This isn’t about finishing everything on your plate, rather, if you’re buying healthy options just to throw them out, then yes - eating healthy is more expensive.
Tips to Become a More Sustainable Shopper
Make a List
Write a list, and stick to it. Choose only what you need and not what you think you’re going to use. Choose items that are versatile and can be eaten raw or cooked, limit yourself to just one or two trendy superfoods at a time (otherwise they get forgotten), and buy what you like - you don’t have to force yourself to enjoy beet greens.
Try buying what you need for the next few days. If you’re buying fresh, you need to shop more frequently because your timeline is shorter than if you were buying processed and packaged foods. Unless you’re a professional meal planner, the biggest reason why we throw things out is because we simply run out of time. If you purchase enough ingredients to make ten new recipes featuring items you’ve never used before, we admire your determination but shop minimally (just in case).
Start Cooking Right Away
Don’t grocery shop with the intention of making it tomorrow, start when you get home. It doesn’t take long to whip up a batch of energy bites, pesto, or prep some meals for the week. If you’re inspired at the store, keep that momentum going when you get home - you will thank yourself tomorrow when lunches are already prepped!
Store it Right
Always store in glass airtight containers or mason jars. It is also worth it to invest in beeswax food storage wrap, this natural alternative to plastic wrap can be used to cover bowls and protect your half-lemon or avocado.
Make Notes of Trends
Are you constantly throwing out lettuce because you didn’t make the salad you envisioned for yourself? Choose a more versatile green next time such as baby spinach. You can use spinach in your salad, it’s great in smoothies and egg scrambles, plus you can use it in stir-frys and pastas. Lettuce is slightly less versatile and often goes to waste if you don't make enough salads.
Keep a Greens Powder on Hand
Greens powders can save you a trip to the store when you’re low on fresh leafy greens. Just 2 teaspoons of Enerex Greens is the equivalent to the daily nutrient intake requirement from vegetables. Low on greens, in goes a scoop. Mix it with water, add it to a smoothie, or sneak it in dips, dressings, energy bites and bars. Greens powders a simple way to streamline your body with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and phytonutrients. Enerex Greens are made with cold-pressed juices of nutrient dense grasses. Dehydrated at low temperatures, and stored in safe packaging, Enerex Greens will be there for you when you need them most – unlike the slimy lifeless leafy greens you forgot about in the fridge.