by Kim Beavers, MS, RD, LD, CDE
This is the time of year for thinking GREEN. Although St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, April in Augusta is all about the green jacket. That said, spring’s warmer weather and budding trees also have me thinking about green spaces, green veggies and green living. The 3 R’s of sustainability (reduce, reuse and recycle) can be easily applied to how we manage food at home. Did you know that on average Americans throw out 40% of their food? That is close to half, which is kind of shocking especially when you look back at the food chain and consider that almost half of the energy, water and land used in farming is wasted. Not only that but wasted food is the largest component of our landfills. Yikes!
Here are a couple of ideas to help you and your families apply the 3 R’s to your kitchen.
• Food waste can be reduced by planning your purchases. Planning meals, using shopping lists and buying from bulk bins can avoid impulse buys or marketing tricks that lead to overbuying. Not over buying can help reduce the amount of food discarded and save money.
• Food waste can be reduced by composting. Only about 3% of people currently compost so there is room for improvement here—think fun summer project with the kids.
• Aluminum foil and parchment paper use can be reduced by investing in some silicone baking mats which are re-usable.
• Leftovers can easily be stored in the freezer. This allows you to save food for a quick meal later and keeps leftovers out of the landfill. Note: It is always a good idea to keep a running list of your freezer inventory to avoid wasting your delicious home cooked meals.
• Egg cartons can be used to start seedlings for spring herbs and you will be so glad to have herbs at your fingertips.
• Plastic zip-top bags can be reused if they have held something other than meat or greasy food. Simply wash them in warm soapy water and dry to use again for food storage, household organization or packing toiletries for a trip.
• Recycle food scraps when you can. This can be as simple as giving leftovers to the dog or other pet (if appropriate).
• Veggie scraps can be saved and used to make broth or stock.
• Strawberry caps can be recycled by making “Strawberry Cap Water”. When you are removing the caps from your strawberries, instead of tossing them in the trash or compost pile simply toss them into a water pitcher, fill with water and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. The result is surprisingly fresh tasting water with just a hint of strawberry.
• Broccoli stems actually have a nice mild flavor and can be chopped and sautéed or steamed with the florets or turned into a trendy sprialized noodle. By the way, kids enjoy watching the veggies become spiralized and are apt to try a spiral or two while you cook.
Margherita-style Broccoli Pasta
Garlic, tomatoes and pasta are a classic combination. Toss in some spiralized broccoli stems with the pasta and you have a trendy updated classic.
8 ounces linguini
2 cups spiralized broccoli stalks (3-4 left over broccoli stalks)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes (10.5 ounces)
2 large cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh basil
Cook pasta and broccoli stalks according the directions on the pasta package (typically 9-12 minutes).
Meanwhile add oil to a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat. Once hot add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and sauté another minute.
Place the cooked pasta and broccoli in a serving dish, add the tomato mixture and toss. Lastly add in the mozzarella and basil toss again and serve.
Yield: 4 Servings
Nutrition Breakdown: Calories: 420, Fat 16g (8g saturated fat), Cholesterol 40mg, Sodium 330mg, Carbohydrate 46g, Fiber 3g, Protein 19g
Diabetes Exchanges: 3 Starches, 1 Vegetable, 2 Medium fat meats, 1 Fat
This article appears in the April 2017 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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