In a recent K-State Extension news story, Pat Melgares focused on celebrating nutrition.

“To celebrate National Nutrition Month in March, the National Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is promoting the theme, ‘Go Further with Food.’ In today’s world, it’s a worthwhile call to action,” says Kansas State University nutrition specialist Sandy Procter.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations reports that one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which is about 1.3 billion tons of food – and just under $1 trillion in equivalent U.S. dollars – each year.

Not all of that is food lost in the home, but Procter said that’s a good place to start.

“It’s not just the people with higher incomes who waste food,” said Procter, who is with K-State Research and Extension. “Folks that are trying really hard to save money and do all of their grocery shopping just once a month are likely to have more food waste than if they were able to get to a store on a regular basis.”

To maintain good nutrition and reduce the amount of food wasted, Procter shared some ideas to make food go further.

“The way you store fruits and vegetables is part of the art of reducing waste,” Procter said. Extension educators often conduct tours with shoppers to help them identify good quality fruit and vegetables, and then how those will be stored. For example, tomatoes don’t need to be refrigerated, but strawberries certainly do.

Buying meat in bulk may help you save money at the store, but “it takes a little bit of discipline,” Procter said. A five-pound package of chicken thighs may be on sale, but “unless you’re doing a banquet, you’re probably going to want to re-package for freezing and have those ready in a size that you can thaw out for a meal’s worth.”

Cooking meals takes some planning, but if you can take time on the weekend to cook and then freeze individual meals, it saves time and helps to use up available groceries.

Everyone tends to build up extra cans of food or other items that were originally intended for another purpose. As those build up, think of how you can pair foods to make another meal.

Food waste and meal preparation may not interest you, but it is an interest to the world as a whole. If you have more questions on this topic or others, contact me at chelsim@ksu.edu, by phone at 913-364-5700 or stop by the K-State Research and Extension – Leavenworth County office at 613 Holiday Plaza in Lansing.

Chelsi Myer is a family and consumer sciences agent at K-State Research and Extension – Leavenworth County.