With the plates cleared and Thanksgiving over, I’m seeing countless containers of leftovers filling my fridge. It’s the right time to pitch this idea I’ve had to my family and hope they’re willing to consider one more of those ‘crazy pediatrician ideas’ I have. I want to help where I can eliminate food insecurity for children in our country.
I first read about “A Week Without Waste” in Cooking Light Magazine. Before you read any further, you should know that my family eats dinner together most nights. We have two working parents, a ton of kid activities, but this is not a miracle. (Well, maybe it is. If I’m up for sainthood, please revisit the idea if I’m coming up short on the needed miracles.)
I wrote a while ago about the importance of the family meal, but this winter, I want my family to think deeper about food and food security. The AAP has made a real commitment to helping families provide enough food for their children, and if I want to be part of the solution, I have to teach my own family not to be part of the problem. Journalist, Katie Barreira writes in the November, 2015 issue of Cooking Light magazine:
“Around 40% of the food in this country goes to waste, and a big chunk of that takes place in our own kitchens: Every year, the average U.S. family tosses out 2,000 of their hard-earned dollars in the form of uneaten food.”
Wow. That’s about 133 billion pounds of food that ends up in the garbage, not to mention money that could be better spent on my family. For the first week, I’m suggesting that we all simply pay more attention. I’m challenging the kids to see what it is we throw away and offer their ideas for change. Then I’m going to try to implement the three steps that the Natural Resources Defense Council suggests will help our family minimize waste.
- Shop with a list
- Cook like a chef and use up everything.
- Understand what expiration dates really mean.
Something tells me it’s not as easy as 1-2-3, but thank you Cooking Light Magazine for both the inspiration and the help to get started. I really needed the refresher course in expiration dates anyway. Readers, you can learn more at EndFoodWaste.org and see the suggested meal plans that our family is considering on the Cooking Light website. Let us hear your thoughts and ideas.
Stay tuned for updates on how we are doing with the project in the new year.
Gayle Schrier Smith, MD
along with my Partners In Pediatrics team.