Tasty ideas for not wasting too much food

On average, we throw away more than half a kilo per inhabitant per week: a big mistake. Meat can be salvaged with great results for pockets, palate and health

The arrow of domestic food waste goes back, as evidenced by the international report Waste Watcher “Il Case Italia” 2022 (referring to 2021), to the initiative of the Zero Waste campaign of Last Minute Market and the University of Bologna , on Ipsos tracking . The new data tells us that we throw away an average of 595.3 grams per capita per week, or 30.956 kg per year: around 15% more than in 2021 (529 grams per week). The return to social life, in coexistence with the virus, probably makes us less careful in the management and use of food. And too much food is still wasted around the world: according to the FAO, about a third of all food produced ends up in the trash every year. In short, there is still a lot to do in terms of food waste, especially at home and in restaurants. To reduce waste, it is necessary to act on the two levels from which it originates. On the one hand, there are food losses (loss of food), i.e. the waste that occurs along the first links of the chain (production, collection, storage and treatment), and on the other hand those that are defined as real waste (food waste), originated as a result of distribution to consumers and merchants. A small virtuous exception is the meat supply chain which, according to the latest Nielsen data, only impacts 5% of overall food waste. The Waste Watcher 2022 survey explains that in the hit of the most often wasted foods, fresh fruit stands out (27%), followed by onions, garlic and tubers (17%), fresh bread (16%), vegetables (16%) and salad (15%). Why do we waste in our homes? One in two Italians (47%) admits that they often forget the food they have bought, 46% say that the food was fresh from the fridge in the shops and at home it spoiled quickly. One in 3 Italians (30%) admit to miscalculating the quantities of food they serve at home, but also (33%) worrying about not having enough food at home, and therefore exaggerating purchases . The Waste Watcher data therefore demonstrates that there is a large margin for improvement in the purchasing and food management phases, with a view to avoiding household food waste.

So you have to store less and use leftovers instead of throwing them away. Anti-waste meat recipes, as Sustainable Meat, a non-profit association, reminds us, are numerous, they are part of the Italian culinary tradition.

For example, let’s talk about the soup to be made strictly with leftover baked chicken, for a comforting dish that also does good down the line. “Many studies show that by increasing the percentage of water or water-rich ingredients in the dish – explains nutritionist Elisabetta Bernardi – the energy density of a food is lowered and it is possible to first achieve the feeling of satiety and therefore to reduce without sacrificing the calories of the diet too much”. But not just broths: Neapolitan-style meat omelettes, rolls, meatballs or toppings, many dishes in our tradition envision reusing boiled meats or cold cuts for inviting new dishes. Anti-waste ideas, but also good for creating balanced menus suitable for everyone. “Veal, for example, for the tenderness of the meat, is often used by those who have difficulty chewing – specifies the expert – but who still have high nutritional needs. It is a particularly good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, zinc and iron, and 100g of veal provides over 25% of these nutrients”. Deli meats, often chosen to flavor vegetables in a delicious way, can easily be used in anti-waste recipes such as omelettes, dumplings, sauces. “Let’s not throw away the piece of salami or ham, but use it to enrich our diet with noble proteins”. Then a few tips are enough for anti-waste but also balanced dishes. “It is worth remembering – says Bernardi – that to compose a balanced and anti-waste dish, in addition to leftover meat and salami, it is always good to combine vegetables, fruit and cereals”.

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