Food for Thought

Food for Thought
by Debbie Woelfel, Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

This year's National Nutrition Month® theme, Go Further with Food, can have many different meanings. Athletes will tell you that food can make a difference between first and second place. The Winter Olympics just finished, and I read many stories about how different athletes worked with dietitians to make sure they had their best performance. 

What? You say you're not an athlete? No worries. There are many other ways to Go Further with Food. Eating a healthy diet can help prevent/delay different diseases, give you more energy and even just help make your day better. Studies have shown that children who eat breakfast score better on tests. Think how productive the workplace could be if everyone had a quick meal on their way out the door! 

In the last few years, there has been an increase in helping the environment. One way to do that is to reduce food waste. Thirty-one percent of all edible food is wasted in the United States. American households throw away nearly 28% of fruits and vegetables. With a little bit of planning you can help eliminate this waste and eat healthy. Here are a few tips.

Reduce Food Waste 
1. Check your refrigerator prior to going shopping. Eat what you have at home before buying more. 

2. Freeze extra food. Fruits and vegetables can be frozen for smoothies, hot cereal, soups and casseroles. Make sure you wrap items in heavy freezer paper, plastic wrap, freezer bags or foil. Above all, label it with the date and what type of food it is! I can't tell you how many times I thought I would remember...  

3. Plan your week. This can be the best step to eating healthy, reducing waste, and saving money at the grocery store. An easy way to do it is to list your schedule on the left half of the sheet and then the meal ideas on the right side. 

 Soccer - Leftover chicken, rice and green beans  
 Nothing - Pork tenderloin, baked potato, broccoli, peaches 
 Meetings - Pork sandwich, tortilla chips/salsa, raw vegetables

When meal planning think about cooking extra on the weekend. Cook once and eat twice. Make extra chicken so the first night is chicken, a few days later you have chicken enchiladas and a different day chicken barley soup. 

Double recipes and freeze half. If you are cooking for two just halve the original recipe. This might mean instead of a 9x13 casserole you divide it between two smaller pans - one for dinner and one for the freezer. Crock pot meals can be put in gallon bags on the weekend and then just dumped in the crock pot on the day you want it.  

There are lots of ideas on the internet/library for ways to freeze meals and save space. Need help with this step? Give us a call and we can help you brainstorm! 

What other ways can you Go Further with Food? Check out this link for more ideas.

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