Go Further with Food (An Intern’s Perspective)

Posted on March 9th, 2018

March is National Nutrition Month and what better way to celebrate nutrition than to talk about how to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to eating healthy and saving money!

This year the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics focus is ‘Go Further with Food’ with an emphasis on purchasing local foods and reducing our carbon foot print as it relates to food.

Buying Locally Grown Foods:

Produce sold locally are picked when ripe during peak harvest times. A lot of these foods can be picked within a 24 hour period of them being available on the shelf for your purchase – talk about fresh! Due to the quick turnaround these foods can retain a majority of their nutritional profile and full of that home grown flavor a lot of us love. (I mean, who doesn’t love a homegrown tomato!?) Purchasing local foods can allow consumers to add healthy foods to their diet while helping to conserve natural resources with a more minimal effect on the environment. Another great factor of purchasing local is that you as a consumer often times have the opportunity to see how the food is grown/raised firsthand.  Plus, every dollar you spend supporting your local businesses, foods, and services stays in your local community. A win-win for everyone!

Did you know Reasor’s supports over 120 local farms and small businesses? Look for our ‘local’ signs and tags around the store, read the package label to determine where a product was produced, or ask any employee to help you find a locally produced product. Just a few favorites offered at Reasor’s include:

Not only does Reasor’s support local farms but we are also a local business born in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and proud to employ over 2,000 Oklahomans!

 Food Waste Prevention:

In the U.S., a staggering 31% (give or take) of all foods are wasted and 28% of that is from fruits and vegetables. This means that consumers are throwing away 31% of their grocery bill! So what can we do to prevent food waste AND save money?

What I love to do is meal prep.

 

Prepping meals in advance can help encourage balanced, healthy meals and save you time with meals prepared for several days at a time. This can be done by picking a day of the week to prepare meals, most individuals find that the weekend work best for them. Next is to create a grocery list. Go through your pantry and refrigerator to do a food item inventory of what you already have and then decided on what meals to prepare. These meals can be stored (fridge or freezer) then reheated – all of which can be a major time saver for busy individuals or families.

Other ways to prevent food waste:

  • When shopping for food, only buy foods and snacks that are going to be used for that week, or until the next grocery-shopping trip.
  • Date all frozen items and use the oldest food first.
  • To prevent fruit from spoiling, estimate the quantity you’ll need for your lunches and snacks for the week before purchasing them.
  • Instead of reheating an entire dish, only reheat a single meal. After reheating food in the microwave or the oven, use a thermometer to ensure leftovers reach a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Foods are often thrown away before its actual expiration date because of confusion over the use-by date, sell-buy date and best-by dates. Understanding the differences between these can help reduce your waste and cost of groceries, plus keep your food safe.
    • Expiration date (sometimes labeled as ‘exp’): the last date a product can be consumed before it is considered spoiled or ineffective. Toss the food once it reaches this date.
    • Use- by date: the date that the product should be eaten; more so for quality versus making you sick.
    • Sell-by date: the date that a retailer should sell the food by. These foods often still have 1/3 of its shelf life after its sell-by date. This label is commonly seen on eggs.
    • Best-by date: the suggested date a consumer should consume the product for its best quality.

Loren Brown is a Dietetic Intern through Iowa State University’s Distant Intern Program. She loves to stay active, cook, watch sports and have fun with her two boys. Her passion is Sports Nutrition and she looks forward to receiving her Licensure as Registered Dietitian this upcoming fall.

Blog post reviewed/edited by Reasor’s Registered Dietitian, Heather Steele, RD/LD.

Information included does not constitute medical advice and should only be used as a general recommendation for a healthy, balanced diet and lifestyle. Opinions and recommendations expressed are of their own; Reasor’s Registered Dietitian is not paid to endorse any products or services.