Photo credit: www.kalynskitchen.com
As we make our way through our nutritional journeys we often go through many phases; gradually replacing processed foods with whole foods, increasing our vegetable servings and incorporating more organic foods. And while all of these dietary shifts are amazing for our overall health, they can add a little more cost to our monthly grocery bill. However, there are a number of ways we can utilize more of our vegetables to help us to save money and decrease food waste. Globally we throw out one third of all food produced and an estimated 47% of that is from individual homes. So improving our food usage supports our wallets and the environment at the same time!
5 Ways to Maximize your Vegetable Usage…
1) Is it really waste?
Some of the things we habitually deem as food scraps are actually perfectly edible. Rooted vegetable tops such as; carrot, turnip, radish or beets, the stems of herbs (ex: parsley, cilantro), celery leaves, potato, beet or squash peels and chard stems are only a few examples of vegetable components that are unnecessarily thrown out. The next time you are discarding veggie bits, have a good look and contemplate whether it is actually waste. Do I really need to peel that carrot or beet? Can I just chop these parsley stems into my salad?
2) Juice or blend
Smoothies and homemade juices are a great way to use up our veggie and fruit bits. Strawberry tops, kale stems or citrus rinds in the right combinations can make delicious and nourishing beverages.
3) Homemade broth
One of the biggest health trends of the year is homemade broth due to its concentration of easily digestible vitamins and minerals. Keep a bag of veggie scraps going in the freezer at all times and continually keep adding your broccoli stems, onion/garlic skins, kale stems, etc to it. When it’s full make either a homemade veggie broth or add it to your bone broth.
4) Homemade soup or stew
Designate one night per week as the ‘use it up meal’. Go through your fridge and pull out any vegetables which are getting a little soft or are on the verge of going bad. This is also a great way to be mindful of what’s in your fridge to ensure you do not continually over-buy.
5) If all else fails – compost
Do it yourself, put it in your city green bin or drop it off at a local garden or farmers market. Food waste that simply goes into the trash does not actually compost but rots and releases methane gas which is a greenhouse gas that traps 20 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. As of January 1, 2015 both the City of Vancouver and Metro Vancouver regional district banned food scraps from disposal as garbage.
Need some more inspiration? Try watching local Vancouver documentary Just Eat it – A Food Waste Story: http://www.foodwastemovie.com/
For more information:
Heather Woodruff CNP RNCP is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner who has seen firsthand how the food we consume has a direct impact on our overall health. Her appreciation of whole, fresh foods began while growing up in rural Alberta where her summers were spent helping in the garden; picking carrots, shelling peas and eating copious amounts of raspberries right from the bush. When she’s not puttering in the kitchen, Heather can be found surfing some North Pacific waves, fighting for good kale at the farmers market and perfecting her yoga asanas.