“Based on estimates from USDA’s Economic Research Service of 31 percent food loss at the retail and consumer levels, corresponded to approximately 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food in 2010.1”
At incentaHEALTH, we encourage our participants to grocery shop and prepare food at home. This helps promote a healthier lifestyle and encourages weight loss because you take control of what you eat. Food safety and storage are important aspects of healthy eating. Food safety begins before the food even makes it to your house. Here are some tips for making sure your food is safe and stored correctly.
- At the grocery store, choose foods that don’t have damage to the packaging and that are not expired.
- Shop smart! Make sure you go to the grocery store with a plan of what you want to buy, how you plan to store it, and how you plan to prepare it.
- Store food correctly. Know which foods need to be stored in the refrigerator, freezer, or can be stored at room temperature. Perishable foods should not be out of the refrigerator or freezer for more than 2 hours. Plan on heading straight home after grocery shopping.
- Keep the refrigerator clutter-free. This will make it easier for you to know what you have in your refrigerator and help reduce waste from expired foods.
- Save leftovers. Use leftovers for later meals, snacks, or use them to help prepare future meals. For instance, if you are having chicken tonight and plan to have a salad tomorrow for lunch, cook an extra chicken breast to chop up and put on top of your salad for tomorrow.
- Learn to cook using the foods you have. If you have extra food in the refrigerator or pantry, you should plan to use those foods. Don’t purchase new food and let the food that you already have expire and go to waste.
Make sure your foods are being stored in the correct environment. Foods stored at room temperature should be in a dry environment at 70⁰F. Refrigerated foods should be stored at 40⁰F or below. Frozen foods should be stored at 0⁰F or below.2 For more information on food safety, check out the USDA resources below or contact the health coaches here at incentaHEALTH
James Fazzio, MBA, RD
Registered Dietitian and Lifestyle Coach
- USDA, 2016. “U.S. Food Waste Challenge / FAQs”. https://www.usda.gov/oce/foodwaste/faqs.htm
- Dec 20, 2016. “Keep Food Safe! Food Safety Basics”. https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/keep-food-safe-food-safety-basics/ct_index