By 2ndactt/ Photo by Patrick Winzler on Pexels.com
Have you ever experienced hunger? Not the kind of hunger you feel when you are on a diet. We are talking about real hunger — feeling hungry and yet having nothing to eat. Or the food is so scarce that you eat but never satisfied.
The Global Network Against Food Crises recently released an annual report, indicating that 135 million people across 55 countries and territories experienced acute food insecurity in 2019. The World Food Programme estimated that the number of people suffering from hunger could surge to 265 million in 2020 due to the economic downturn associated with COVID-19.
Some might think that food insecurity is far away and not related, but so was a newfound virus months ago. With climate change and disease outbreaks hitting hard worldwide, unexpected things have become near us like never before. If you had seen an empty shelf in a grocery store during the height of COVID-19, you knew what it is like when food is not something money can buy.
It is time to treat food with due respect and avoid waste. Here are some of the things to do in our everyday life.
1. Write a shopping list
Plan your purchases is the No.1 advice that organizations tackling food waste would give to everyone. There will always be promotions in the grocery store, but there is no need to bring home all the food on sale. Glue your eyes to the list, and you will be able to resist those you do not need, at least not until the next shopping.
2. Know the difference between “best before” and “use by”
The European Food Information Council (EUFIC) advised that people understand the difference between the “best-before” date and the “use-by” date.
EUFIC explained that “best before” means although foods may have changed in flavor, color, or texture, they are safe to eat after passing the date. A “best-before” date is often found on the package of dried beans and pasta.
Meanwhile, a “use-by” date is usually found on the perishable foods, such as chilled meat and dairy products. Compared with “best before,” “use by” is less flexible. Stocking up foods with a “use-by” date is unnecessary.
3. Conduct regular check on your refrigerator
Too often, we are treating our refrigerator as just another storeroom, and this is not okay. A regular clean up and temperature check of the fridge can ensure that foods are not contaminated with germs and bacteria. It is recommended to keep the refrigerator below 5°C (41°F).
4. Organize your kitchen properly
Cupboard and refrigerator alike, the “first in, first out” principle applies to both. When you have done shopping, place new items at the back of the food cabinet and fridge so you will always grab foods with the nearest expiring dates in the front row. It helps prevent food waste.
5. Accept ugly food
Do not judge food by its appearance. As consumers tend to favor nice-looking fruits and vegetables, carrots that look like gingers or potatoes that are irregular-shaped run the risk of being thrown away and never reach the market. However, how they look has nothing to do with their taste and nutrition value. If you get to see ugly foods next time, try some.
Shop wise, cook wise and eat wise, so we are able to not only eat to our full but also share food with those in need in a time of stress.
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