Guest Contributor for this blog:
Katherine Morrow is studying nutrition at Western Carolina University and is pursuing credentials to become a registered dietitian. The mountain life called her from central Florida and throughout her short time at WCU, she has participated in many volunteer and classroom projects which focus on increasing food security in Jackson and Swain Counties. She enjoys her work with the Growing Minds @ WCU program, directing garden lessons for children and implementing taste tests of local produce at Cullowhee Valley School. She loves cooking and trying new foods. When Katherine is not exploring the field of nutrition in school cafeterias, gardens, and health clinics, she is spending time outdoors. She can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
March is National Nutrition Month! This year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is highlighting the issue of food waste. In the United States, millions of tons of food are unused every year. This wasteful practice is a significant issue for many reasons. There are currently United States – and Jackson County – residents that are food insecure. Redirecting foods which still hold nutritional value to be donated to food relief organizations, rather than being thrown out, can alleviate some of the risk of malnutrition in these populations. We will also need a larger supply of food for a growing population. By working toward reducing food waste, we can potentially protect natural resources, save money, and reduce contribution to climate change.
Families which plan groceries thoughtfully and take care to avoid wasting food will free up money to spend on other things – such as more nutritious foods! Some families and individuals enjoy prepping meals at intervals, such as on weekends. Meals can be stored in airtight containers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the week. Food can also be frozen for later use. It is a good rule of thumb to include as many food groups (vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein) as possible per meal – 3 food groups per meal is a great place to start. Remember to defrost foods in the refrigerator, under running cool water, or in the microwave – never sitting out at room temperature. Foods that are defrosted can not be frozen again. Below is a list of foods which freeze well:
- Raw vegetables will need to be blanched prior to freezing
- Casseroles, soup, chili, stew, rice
- Sliced, shredded, or cubed cheese, milk, cream cheese, yogurt
- Raw or cooked meat
- Baked goods
Interested in learning more about nutrition? There was an event Tuesday March 13th at 6:30 pm for a free “Nutrition 101” class, in partnership with the WCU Student Association of Nutrition and Dietetics and WCU College of Health and Human Sciences. Your library will have more opportunities to learn about nutrition…stay tuned!
“As a founding member of Further with Food Center for Food Loss and Waste Solutions, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is committed to cutting food loss and waste in the United States in half by 2030.”