World Food Day is celebrated annually on 16 October around the word to mark the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organisations concerned with food security, including the World Food Program and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. World Food Day is a day of action against hunger.
It’s heartbreaking to know that while there is increased arms race in the world, every one in nine people is suffering from chronic hunger. That is 795 million people according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. While the countries are busy spending billions of dollars on building nuclear arsenals, 3.1 million children are dying from poor nutrition. It’s interesting to note that the major countries participating in nuclear armaments race are developing nations, which house the vast majority of hungry people. In short, building nuclear weapons are far more important than feeding population.
And if you think these facts are staggering, you are wrong. The world produces enough food to feed entire population three meals a day! It’s not the matter of producing enough food, but solving challenges to ensure enough food gets to everyone in need. A good proportion of food is inaccessible to hungry population whereas remaining proportion gets wasted. It’s estimated that 1.3 billion tons of food were wasted last year – four times the amount needed to feed the 795 million people who suffer food insecurity. The global goal set in UN for achieving a hunger free-world by 2030 can’t be achieved if we don’t work together to take appropriate actions, instead of simply talking about it.
The government and organisations can only do so much. It’s the common people like you and me that can bring about a real change. According to an World Food Program estimate, if even half of the people in developing and developed nations cut their food wastage by half, the problem of world hunger will be solved within next four years! Yes, it is possible to end hunger within our lifetime itself. On this World Food Day, we bring you easy ways to save food that you can adopt to end world hunger. We at Xtrascoop urge our readers to follow at least three guidelines/steps/methods from each section. These methods will not only help in reducing world hunger but also save money on food.
1. Think Before You Shop
Though this sounds simple, shopping for food is where we make mistake most of the times. Without proper planning or thought, we tend to buy products in bulk quantity sealing the fate of few of them. However, by following these ways, you can shop smart and save lot of money (and food too!) –
Step 1 – Determine your budget. World’s leading experts believe grocery shopping on a budget is most effective.
Step 2 – Prepare a list of items to buy a day before the shopping.
Step 3 – Estimate the quantities of each item. While taking estimate, consider factors like whether you like the item, how will you use the item, when will you use the item and for how many people it is needed.
Step 4 – While shopping, don’t buy any item more than the decided quantity.
Step 5 – If there is a new food product or item you wanna try, purchase in small amounts – one to two units (max).
Step 6 – After shopping, keep the list safe for future reference. Make necessary modifications to the list next time you shop. There are tonnes of mobile apps you can use for keeping a note safely tucked away.
2. Plan Meals In Advance
In the home, one of the best ways to reduce food waste is to plan meals ahead. Planning meals a day in advance enables you to efficiently use up the ingredients you have in hand, and ensures that you eat balanced diet. You may plan means according to your own preference, but by following these thumb rules, you can effectively use food products with minimal to none wastage.
Rule 1 – Use highly perishable items for cooking first.
Rule 2 – Determine the number of serves in advance.
Rule 3 – If its a family meal, switch to smaller dishes for serving. Bigger dishes gives impression of empty plate leading to over-serve.
Rule 4 – Use grocery apps to track expiration of packaged food.
3. Store And Use Leftover Foods
Even if you have been sacredly following the above rules, you may still end up with leftover foods due to one reason or another. But fret not, you can still use your leftovers in elegant way without wasting much.
Step 1 – Store leftover food in air-tight containers in refrigerator.
Step 2 – Label the containers to track of how long they have been in your refrigerator.
Step 3 – Using leftovers to make delicious meals is a smart way to ensure you eat everything you buy. There are tonnes of recipes online that make use of leftover foods and vegetable scraps to craft delicious meals.
Step 4 – Donate what you won’t use. There is always a homeless or beggar around,
Step 5 – Use the stale food as garden compost (if you have one).
4. Refrigerator Etiquette
Refrigerator is your friend in your quest to save food and save money. Today’s modern Refrigerators have various compartments to store appropriate food products. However, very few know how to use their refrigerators properly. For example, according to a recent study, almost 70% refrigerators are set at high temperature that reduces the lifespan of food items. So, we bring you some common etiquette of using refrigerator, courtesy of LG Refrigerator Best Practices. Bookmark this page, or copy these somewhere. Obviously, if you don’t have any refrigerator, you can skip this section.
Etiquette 1 – Dairy products and drinks should be placed at the top of the refrigerator, cool but not too cold, so they do not freeze. Preferably, place milk and dairy products on the side where the cold air blows and position drinks on the other side.
Etiquette 2 – Meats and fish should be on the mid-tier shelf.
Etiquette 3 – Cheeses and cold cuts should be placed in the drawer above the bottom shelf.
Etiquette 4 – Fruit and produce (salads and vegetables) goes in the bottom drawer, still cool but not too cold so they do not freeze.
Etiquette 5 – Eggs and butter should be placed in the door, but in a compartment protected by a cover so that they do not get too cold (eggs) or too hard (butter).
Etiquette 6 – Dressings and sauces go in the middle compartments of the door.
Etiquette 7 – Items that need the least refrigeration should be placed in the bottom of the door.
Etiquette 8 – Don’t overfill your fridge, which prevents cold air from circulating properly.
Etiquette 9 – Keep your fridge between 1-5°C – this helps you get the best from your food.
Etiquette 10 – When unpacking groceries, move older products to the front of the fridge and put new products in the back. This way, you’re more likely to use up the older stuff before it expires.
5. Eating Out
Nobody eats everyday at home. Who doesn’t love slurping those extravagantly cooked chicken pasta with a glass of wine (or cold drink/soup, as per your choice, and *cough* money *cough*). However, even while eating in a restaurant or hotel, you can follow a couple of easy guidelines to reduce food wastage.
Guideline 1 – Order only what you eat.
Guideline 2 – Order in small amount.
Guideline 3 – Ask waiter to pack up the leftovers.
Guideline 4 – If you are trying a new dish, order only 1 unit of it.
Guideline 5 – Encourage the restaurant to donate leftover foods.