Making Your Food Go Further: What We Learned

Thank you to all who joined us on RDN Day last week to celebrate National Nutrition Month® 2018, the theme of which is making your food go further!” We enjoyed partnering with Meredith Danberg-Ficarelli, Director at NYC-based Common Ground Compost, who discussed the how and why of food scrap recycling as it relates to healthy eating, NYC’s composting and recycling programs, and how Common Ground is helping to implement waste reduction programs at businesses across the city.

Attendees learned how healthy eating and sustainability go hand in hand - from good soil management practices to meal prep that keeps waste reduction in mind. Our jaws dropped when we learned that only 0.2 percent of New Yorkers’ waste is composted; approximately 82.3 percent ends up in a landfill and the remaining 17.5 percent is converted to energy. Thirty-one percent of New Yorkers’ waste is comprised of food and yard waste that can be composted.

Tips for Reducing Food Waste

Meredith’s presentation made us think about what more we can do. How can we reduce the staggering amount of food that is wasted annually from 63 million tons in the U.S. to…barely any food waste at all? 

  • Prevention: In our homes, our offices, our clients’ homes and elsewhere – encourage portion reduction. Buy only what you need, organize your fridge for optimal food storage, and use every part of your fresh ingredients – leaves and stems are delicious and nutritious too! Split meals at restaurants with your friends or family.  
  • Edible food rescue: When there are leftovers from a meal at home, bring them to the office the following day to share with colleagues and friends! If you are participating in an event, make sure that a local nonprofit (like Rescuing Leftover Cuisine) is contacted ahead of time, so edible leftovers can feed those in need.
  • Composting: If you’re not composting already, now is the time to start! Think back to when you started recycling and how unnatural it would feel to not be recycling now. In NYC, recycling is the law – and composting is coming soon! Check out this map of drop-off locations across the City, or contact Common Ground Compost for more information! 

“Reducing food waste has numerous benefits - from environmental, to social, and even economic,” according to the Ethical Food Warrior, Chris Vogliano, MS, RDN. “Understanding your client's unique perspective can help frame the conversation and motive behavior change. For instance, if your client is on a budget, you can share tips on how to freeze or preserve food, which will ultimately save them money.”

Take a look at Common Ground Compost’s presentation here for more details and how you can get started reducing food waste. We encourage you to set an example and to think about how you might work this conversation into your nutrition consults, too. 

Let us know – how are you taking additional steps to reduce food waste?