Did you know Australians throw out 20% of the food they purchase? That’s one in every five bags of shopping that goes right to the bin!
This also equates to just over $1000 per household worth of food and money wasted every year – what a waste!
Not only does this waste money and food, it has a burden on the environment by wasting resources, such as water and energy, required to make the food available.
When food rots in landfill it creates methane which is a damaging greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than car exhaust.
Not to mention that any food you waste is food others could have to help nourish and sustain them. While its important to think about what food will fuel your performance, think about what other role that food plays and the journey it has been on to get to your plate and what will happen to it after.
The section of the population that wastes the most food is young adults between 18-24 which is the age range of a lot of our athletes.
You can play your role in helping to reduce food waste by thinking about what you are purchasing and how it will fit into your weekly meal plan, or being more creative with the food you have in your fridge so you are helping to reduce waste and save money and the environment.
Here are 11 ways athletes can reduce their food waste:
1. Arrange your fridge shelves
Put things that have a short use by date towards the front of the fridge so you know to use them before they pass the use by date and have some meals and snacks in mind which you will use them for.
2. Put meat & fresh produce in fridge quickly
Maintain food safety and reduce waste through extending the shelf life by putting meat and fresh produce in the fridge as soon as possible after shopping
3. Consider how much you buy
Don’t purchase more than you need or have the chance to consume
4. Know what you’ve got
Check what food you already have before going to the shop so you don’t have double ups
5. Think ahead
If you are going out to dinner a lot in a week or going away adjust your regular shop to purchase less.
Be creative with leftovers and reuse foods in different ways rather than eat the same thing every night – use different flavours or combine dishes like using left over pasta in a frittata
7. Freeze things
Make your freezer your friend – freeze things like meat, herbs or certain vegetables so you can use them later in casseroles or other wet dishes. Even cheese freezes to put on top of a lasagne
8. Get weird
Choose unruly or imperfect vegetables at the shops, they are generally cheaper as well
9. Make it your own
Go rogue from recipes – add extra vegetables you have to dishes to use them up even if a recipe doesn’t call for it, this gives variety and extra nutrient density
10. Go big
Do a big cook up and use what you have in the fridge and then freeze that meal to have later
11. Buy Aussie
Always make sure you are buying Australian fruit and vegetables that are in season. This is not entirely a food waste issue but it’s important for food sustainability and ensures you eat fresher, tastier fruit and vegetables.
Figures from foodwise.com.au