Make your food go further
About the author
Jen Trew is a registered dietitian at Barton Health. To make an appointment for a consultation and receive personalized nutrition advice that fits your lifestyle, call 530-543-5824. To learn more about how Barton’s nutrition services can help you, visit bartonhealth.org/nutrition.
Each year, the typical American family tosses out $2,275 worth of food and beverages.
About 15 to 20% of the produce we buy is wasted. But as we all know, eating a diet full of fruits and veggies is good for your health and longevity. A few simple tasks can help each of us eat healthier and reduce food waste.
Before food shopping, take inventory of what you have on hand. Make a plan for using up fresh items in your kitchen before they go bad.
Buy only what you need. Make a list of how produce will be served once purchased.
Store produce properly. If it’s refrigerated at the store, it should be at home as well.
Some plants emit a gas that speeds up ripening in other plants. These include avocados, bananas, mangos, peaches, apples, melons, and tomatoes. Don’t keep these in the same bin with other fruits and veggies.
Some produce has a shorter life span than others, such as mushrooms, tender greens, berries, herbs, and summer squash. Use these first!
If your produce is nearing its end, lay it out on a sheet pan and freeze for later use.
Repurposing leftovers is a great way to minimize food waste. Try these tips:
Have a leftover night for dinner toward the end of the week.
Everyone gets a small portion of each item.
Roasted veggies and leftover grilled chicken are great for topping a baked potato or rice as an easy meal.
An egg scramble or salad (see below!) made with leftover veggies is another tasty way to use up what you have.
Asian Quinoa Chop Salad
Taking a stroll through a local farmers market is a great way to add light activity to your day, and stock up on seasonal produce to try at home this summer.
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers
(about 1/2 medium red bell pepper)
1/2 cup diced carrots (about 2 medium-sized carrots)
1/2 cup chopped pea pods (about 8 to 10)
1/4 cup chopped green onions (about 2 to 3)
2 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoon minced cilantro
6 large leaves of romaine lettuce or 6 cups
In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add quinoa, stir, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for about 30 minutes or until quinoa is soft and water is absorbed. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine red peppers, carrots, pea pods, and green onions. In a medium bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, honey, ginger, garlic, and cilantro. Set aside.
Pour cooked quinoa into a large bowl and let cool for at least 10 to 15 minutes. When the quinoa is no longer steaming, mix in chopped vegetables, and then stir in dressing. To serve, place one large romaine lettuce leaf or 1 cup of mixed greens on a plate, then top with 1/2 cup of salad.
Serves six. Each 1/2 cup serving and lettuce leaf contains about 100 calories, 3 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 178 milligrams sodium, 15 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams sugar, 2 grams fiber and 3 grams protein.
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