Thursday, July 24, 2008

Fresh Produce

MSNBC published an article yesterday about research done by the University of Arizona that states:
The average U.S. household throws out nearly a quarter of the fruits and vegetables they buy. For a family of four, that adds up to about $500 each year, according to a study by the University of Arizona.
The article then goes on to give tips on how to choose and store fresh produce. To my mind, the research brings up a much more worrying issue.

If the average household of four throws out about a quarter of their produce costing about $500 a year, it means that they are spending about $2,000 a year on fresh produce. Put another way, they are spending $38 a week on fruits and veggies (and only eating $28 a week if the study is to believed about a quarter being trashed). I don't see how anyone can even eat the official recommendation 5 fruits and veg on that amount of money. Five fruits and veg a day are no where near enough to maintain good health. No wonder Americans are so unhealthy.

I was amused by this quote:
One reason is that "people want to perceive themselves as eating healthier than they do," said Timothy Jones, author of the University of Arizona study on food waste.
When you are eating that little plant material, a few extra bunches of broccoli or spinach hardly counts.

I'm spending between $120-$180 per week on fresh produce for our family of 4 and there is no way I throw away nearly a quarter of that food.

One of my best finds were the Tupperware Fridgesmart containers.

I'm not a Tupperware fan as I am no fan of plastic and I think that they are way over priced. However, these containers are cheap at the price. I love how they stack so I can fill every available space in my refrigerator. Better yet, they do deliver as promised. I've kept strawberries fresh for 2 weeks in one of those containers. (not that berries generally last that long in our household. Ben and Shira are veritable berry fiends. They eat berries with every meal. My test happened when I forgot to clean out the fridge before we went on a trip. I was pleasantly surprised to find all the food in the containers to still be fresh when we returned).

I also use the Evert-Fresh bags.

They work well, but don't allow for stacking, so I use them for things like apples and cabbage, stuff that I toss into the produce drawers.

I'm still in shock that Americans eat so few fruits and veggies. This morning I used 2lbs of fruit and 2lbs of veggies to make my family's breakfast. That cost approximately $8 (or $56 a week). Our family spends more on fruits and veggies for breakfast, than the average American family spends on them for all three daily meals. That's truly scary.


Jennifer said...

You are in inspiration!! Do you think you could post some of your favorite recipes? I was wondering if I had met you before, did you happen to attend the jumprope club at the Mt. Trashmore YMCA?

Shez said...

Jennifer, we met at the jumprope party. I think I may have been on crutches, not sure. I was the mom with the kids who couldn't eat most of the stuff at the party. What kinds of foods do you like? I can post some recipes to the HS-in-HR OT list (you do belong to it, don't you?

Jennifer said...

yes, I belong to that group. And my hubby and I will eat almost anything, the kids I figure will get used to whatever we keep offering them :)