Out of the myriad of environmental problems at hand, one of the biggest offenders is also one of the most common: Food waste. Each day, roughly 150,000 tons of food is thrown out in America alone. This number is equivalent to about a pound per person; An alarming amount when put into perspective. But what does food waste mean for us and for the planet? It turns out that the environmental repercussions are even worse than we originally thought, which is an issue that Meal Prep Mate is aiming to tackle.
Food waste isn't just throwing away that pork chop in the back of the fridge that you forgot to cook before the expiration date. It's made up of all of the little things we mindlessly toss into the trash each day without giving a second thought. Too large of portions, improper storage, and paranoia about the "best before" dates are all majorly contributing to the food waste problem. But with a little planning and mindful shopping, there's no need to fall prey to the food waste trap.
Meal Prep Mate
Meal prepping is a relatively new fad, but one that has gained huge popularity in recent years. The concept behind meal prepping is to cook and prepare whole meals ahead of schedule. Basically, meal preppers make a large batch of a single dish, and then portion it out to last for a few days. They'll properly store each serving in individual containers for simple and effective portion control.
Theoretically, meal prep sounds like the perfect solution to food waste. However, portion control is a tricky skill to master, and not every ingredient can maintain its flavor well when kept in the fridge. That's where Meal Prep Mate comes in.
The Meal Prep Mate tool is tailored to the needs of the user. People can choose from existing meal prep plans, or input some of their favorite items for a customized plan. Users will be prompted with a serious of lifestyle and diet questions, which Meal Prep Mate then uses to compute a series of recipes that will best fit the individual's needs. Some of the questions include the number of people eating from the plan, dietary restrictions, and days (in a row) that the user plans to eat from the recipe.
Meal Prep Mate's recipes also show users how to cook using past-prime foods and leftover scraps
Following these questions, users will receive a shopping list to compliment the recipes and the portion amount. Each list and recipe is developed by registered dietician Rebecca Ditkoff, culinary producer Clare Langan, and a team of Save the Food experts. Using their culinary expertise and knowledge of food waste prevention, Meal Prep Mate is the perfect tool for delicious meal prep recipes and lists that can help users cut down on (if not eliminate) their food waste.
The Meal Prep Mate tool is even more customizable with a list of recipes to choose from for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If the user chooses to build their own plan, they can start by selecting the proteins, produce, and grains that they would like to incorporate. The tool will then generate a few different recipes to choose from based off of the user's preferences. Also, they will receive a portioned grocery list for the given recipes based on the days needed and the number of people it is aiming to feed.
Food Waste: What it Means for the Planet
At first thought, most people don't consider food waste to be a major concern when it comes to the health of our planet. But, considering the growth, preparation, and disposal of all of our wasted food, it becomes apparent that we've got a huge problem on our hands.
Out of all of the possible sources of the majority of food waste, the main culprit is actually households across America. Households trump restaurants and grocery stores in the food waste department, with over $218 billion worth of food wasted each year. Or, to put it in other terms, that means that 40% of all food in the United States never gets eaten. Expiration dates, short shelf life, and improper storage are all factors that can lead perfectly good food straight to the trash can.
Just under half of the food in America never gets eaten due to food waste
The effects of food waste extend far beyond just a waste of resources. Nearly every food available to us has been through a process that involves energy and water usage, all of which are wasted along with the food. In fact, it is estimated that the amount of food wasted per year is equivalent to 3.3 billion tons of greenhouse emissions, which speeds up the damage to climate for virtually no reason.
Additionally, the economic consequences of food waste are causing significant problems in America. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the food waste in the US amounts to $680 billion; Money that could have been used for other purposes, such as clean energy or solving our country's water crises.
Food waste is definitely a serious concern in the United States and the rest of the world. Our carelessness of preparation, storage, and over-consumption is causing catastrophic consequences for our climate and economy. In order to address this pressing issue, we all need to consider our own personal habits and carbon footprints before any change can be made. A great first step? To utilize tools such as Meal Prep Mate to cut down on food waste and learn how to portion control effectively.
With a conscious effort to make changes in our daily lives, we can all do our part to reduce the damages done to our planet, if not eliminate them. It's the innovation and focus on environmental health from tools like Meal Prep Mate that are making sustainability an easy, totally doable part of our daily lives. Whether you're new to meal prep or you've been portioning for years, give this app a try; You may discover you've been wasting more food than you originally thought.