March 5, 2018
The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that billions of pounds of food are thrown away each year in the United States. That's roughly 300 pounds of food per year for the average American.
March is recognized as National Nutrition Month, encouraging individuals to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits. This year, the focus also includes finding ways to cut back on food waste.
"With a bit of planning, reducing your household's food waste could save money and help you be more mindful of what and how much you're eating," says Erica Owen, manager of nutrition and weight management programs at MHealthy.
Owen offers the following tips:
• Plan meals in advance and use foods that are already on hand.
• Go to the grocery store with a list to help with buying only what's needed.
• Place foods that spoil quickly, like fruits and vegetables, within sight to remember to eat them.
• To reduce waste when dining out, order smaller portions or ask for a to-go container at the start of the meal.
"Another benefit to planning meals and snacks in advance is having more control over what you're eating," continues Owen. "Fill up on foods that provide you the energy and nutrients needed to stay fueled and focused throughout the day."
During National Nutrition Month and throughout the year, MHealthy provides nutrition programs, healthy dining resources, weight-management programs and more to help university faculty and staff make smarter food choices.
These programs include:
• Free chef demonstrations — Two chefs compete head-to-head to create healthy meals. The audience decides the winner. Demos are scheduled for March 22 at the Michigan Union (a zero-waste event), April 12 at Dow Auditorium (registration opens March 12), and April 17 at the North Campus Research Complex (registration opens March 20). The demos include food samples, healthy eating tips, recipes and a chance to win groceries. This also qualifies for MHealthy Rewards 2018.
• Recipe finder — More than 300 MHealthy-approved recipes are available on MHealthy's website.
• Catering and dining guide — Find restaurants and university services offering healthier food options when eating on-the-go or catering an event or meeting.
• Farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs — Find directories to local farmers markets and CSAs on MHealthy's website. Also, look for M Farmers Markets to return to campus starting in June.
• Ready to Lose — Get individual coaching, personal support and weekly educational webinars through MHealthy's weight loss program. Open to those with a body mass index above 25.
• Weight Watchers — Through a special partnership, U-M employees can join a 12-week Traditional or At Work program for half the price. All participants also get the OnlinePlus companion for free.