Why Reducing Food Waste Matters for Moms during COVID-19

and 5 easy ways to do it!

Guest Blog written by Jordan Faith, Nutrition Intern

Grocery shopping with a little one can be difficult and time consuming no matter what the circumstances are. Throw in a world-wide pandemic and the stakes are high, so maximizing the food items you have is essential. Now, more than ever.

While it’s important that we keep our pantry stocked, it’s also important that we don’t waste the food we have.

This will help us reduce the amount of grocery store trips needed which saves time, money, and reduces our exposure to germs. During pregnancy and postpartum, it’s especially important to have a healthy immune system so our bodies can focus on development and repairing.

 You may be wondering…

* Why is reducing food waste important?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, approximately 40% of the United States food supply is thrown away as waste.

Another way to look at it is that these nutrients– that are essential for pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and breastfeeding– are being wasted.

Fruits and vegetables provide an abundance of nutrients and vitamins, like antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C which can help support our immune systems, but we end up throwing them away if we don’t use them quickly enough.

Proper care can help ensure that these nutrients don’t go to waste!

Every little bit helps so it’s important that we’re conscious consumers before, during, and after grocery shopping.

*What can you do?

Shop in Your Pantry First!

  • Inventory checks help us find and use pantry staples we forgot we had. You won’t even need to leave the house to do this!
  • Don’t feel overwhelmed by all of these ingredients. Find a ‘bowl’ recipe where you can mix different food together, like rice, meat, vegetables, and cheese to use a variety of the food you have.

Be Your Freezer’s Best Friend

  • Cook and freeze perishable items for later use
    • This can save you time and ensure you have nutrient-packed options on hand
  • Freeze bread, sliced fruit, and meat!
    • Do this before it goes bad to ensure it is in its best condition when you eat it
    • Running out of freezer room? Stale bread can also be used to make croutons, bread crumbs, French toast, or even stuffing mix (who says stuffing can only be eaten during Thanksgiving?!) 
  • Frozen Vegetables & Fruits
    • With a longer shelf life, you have more time to use them without worrying if they’ll go bad!
    • Frozen strawberries can be a great addition to oatmeal, smoothies, or made into chia jam
    • Frozen veggies can be thrown into stir fry, soup, or casseroles

Plan Meals

  • With changes in routine like life with a new baby or with social distancing (or both), your eating patterns may change.
    • Note how many meals you need to prepare each week so when you do need to go to the grocery store, you know how much food to buy.
  • Double a recipe to use more food and store the leftovers in the freezer
  • Use food that’s about to go bad first
    • Keep this food in a designated drawer in your fridge so you know where to find it.

Proper Food Storage

  • Wait to wash fruits and vegetables
  • This will give you more time to eat them before they go bad and utilize the important vitamins and minerals they provide.
  • Store apples, bananas, and tomatoes by themselves
    • They spoil faster when stored together
  • Use the FoodKeeper App
    • This will tell you how long specific foods stay fresh
    • They even have information regarding formula and baby food!

Being conscious of these tips throughout your week can help limit the amount of food you throw away and save those nutrients. A win, win!