Food waste has been listed as one of the top contributors to climate change. That’s why minimizing your food waste is as essential as reducing, reusing, and recycling your plastic products. Upcycling food is a simple and effective way to invest in your own health and the health of our planet. What’s upcycling you ask? It means reducing food waste by using all of your food (including the stuff you would usually throw away!) to create nutritious meals.
Since today is Earth Day, we are reminded that the health of our planet must be preserved and protected. The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in Our Planet,” meaning we must take purposeful action in slowing down climate change. While there are many ways to help make a difference, upcycling food is a great first step. Keep reading to learn how to upcycle food in your own kitchen to do your part.
According to Project Drawdown, roughly a third of the world’s food is never eaten, resulting in the unnecessary emission of a large amount of greenhouse gasses. If we use up these items and ingredients that often end up in the landfill, we can reduce food waste.
When preparing meals at home, the goal is to elevate your food to its best use. For example, think about the cauliflower and kale you have in your fridge. You will most likely only use the leaves of the kale and the cauliflower florets, but the stems of both vegetables still offer robust flavors that can be used in soups, salads, dressings, and more, so repurpose them instead of tossing them.
The pulp from your morning green juice contains tons of nutrients that can be used in baking and cooking recipes. You can even throw the pulp into your afternoon smoothie recipe for an added dose of nutrition! At the very least, compost your juice pulp to repurpose it.
Embrace zero food waste by purchasing discounted produce at the grocery store — it’s a great way to buy food items that will otherwise be thrown away. When shopping, look for prices that have been discounted and save yourself a few bucks while also helping to reduce the $1 trillion worth of food that is wasted each year.
The Upcycled Food Association created a new label to help you identify products that contain verified upcycled ingredients. You can find upcycled snacks like granola, energy bars, dried fruits, and more in your local grocery store.
Today and every day, take the time to look inside your refrigerator and in your pantry to use up all of the ingredients you would otherwise let go to waste. The recipes you can make are endless, and the benefits to our planet are immeasurable.
About the author
Jessica is a recent graduate from the Ohio State University, now based in New York. Jessica loves to read, is passionate about fitness and nutrition, and is always looking for new restaurants with the best pasta dishes. On the weekends, you can find her playing with her dog Wilson, at the beach with a good book, or doing pilates.