Walkingspree

Reducing Food Waste AND Your Grocery Bill

Did you know that the average American family throws away approximately 25 percent of the food they buy annually?  Want a close estimate of what that means in dollars and cents?  It means that about $1,500  is literally thrown in the family trashcan.  Some stats say that translates into 25 percent of the world’s children not eating as well as your garbage bin does. Further, it’s been noted that the amount of food wasted on a global scale, if not wasted, could actually eliminate world hunger problems.

If you’ve ever wanted to not only eat smart but also be smart about food as a whole, you may want to look into different ways to reduce food waste. Reducing food waste can reduce your grocery bill as well.

Are you interesting in doing your part to reduce food waste, reduce your monthly spending and helping to take care of our planet? You might be surprised and how easy it can be.  Author, speaker and successful blogger, Bea Johnson, has proven you can live almost completely waste free. Get this:  Bea and her family only generate a quart size jar of waste per year!

If you are thinking that’s pretty incredible, we agree. And, for most of us, that seems impossible. Still, in true Walkingspree fashion, we do think it’s worth mentioning that every little step counts. Whether you are looking to eat better, lose weight, or help our planet by reducing waste, each step counts. If you agree with us, we have a few quick tips to help you reduce food waste and your grocery bill. Many of these tips are on Bea Johnson’s blog but she tells her readers that they are a condensed version. The in-depth cool stuff is in her book, Zero Waste Home.

(1) Shop smarter. Invest in recyclable shopping bags and never go to the store without a list. Shopping with a list can reduce impulse buys but it can force you to check your current supplies before you leave. If you build your list from memory, instead of actually looking in your pantry or refrigerator, you are more likely to buy food you aren’t out of yet  “just to be on the safe side.”

(2) Reuse your supply containers, carriers and cleaning items. Bea says to “arm yourself with a reusable water bottle, a couple grocery totes, a few cloth bags and reusable jars and bottles. She also champions the 5Rs and in the same order every time. Get your 5Rs right: Refuse what you do not need, Reduce what you do need, Reuse what you consume, Recycle what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse, and Rot (Compost) the rest.

(3) Be smart about how much you eat as well as how much you buy. If your recipe calls for a teaspoon of lemon juice, and your would normally not use multiple lemons before your next shopping trip, you don’t need to buy 6 because they are 6 for a $1.50.

(4) Unclutter and organize the kitchen. Using glass jars so you can see the contents easily also let’s you access what you need quickly. Don’t be afraid to switch to an “all drawer” refrigerator.  These can eliminate forgetting about (and wasting) food at the back of a shelf.

(5) Bea says: “Buy in bulk or at the counter (see Zero Waste Grocery Shopping), bring reusable bags (dry goods), jars (wet items such as meat, deli, fish, cheese, oil, peanut butter) and bottles (liquids: oil, soy sauce, shampoo, conditioner).”

(6) Use your trashcan for compost storage. Use your small compost keeper as your regular trash can.

(7) Reinvent left overs. Don’t pop them in a container and let them sit in the refrigerator until mold grows. Create a new dish or meal using food from the previous day.

We think that people who seek to live more meaningful and intentional lives are happier in general. Bea Johnson’s philosophy fits right in with these thoughts.

“Since embarking on the Zero Waste lifestyle, our lives have changed for the better: We feel happier and lead more meaningful lives, based on experiences instead of stuff. My goal is to share its incredible health, financial and time saving benefits!” ~Bea Johnson.

If you are interested in learning more about how to reduce food waste, reduce food costs and simultaneously help the planet, be sure to check out Bea’s blog for more great tips on enjoying a Zero Waste lifestyle.

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The 2015 National Walking Summit is Here

The 2015 National Walking Summit is Here

The 2015 National Walking Summit will kick off Wednesday October 28, 2015.  It will take place in Washington, DC and there are already nearly 500 registered participants.  There’s a packed schedule of events and this is a great opportunity for the walking movement to take a giant step forward.

The National Walking Summit endorses safe, walkable environments.  They believe that these environments “do not just happen they are made by hard work and coordinated commitment.”   The National Walking Summit is a wonderful opportunity for national organizations, companies, agencies, and local partners to get together and  share best practices and stories.  It’s also a great way to increase visibility of these key issues, build support between and amidst federal agencies, and create momentum for doing the work to support more walking friendly environments.

Learn more by visiting the National Walking Summit’s website.   You can register to attend and be apart of unique events like the Walk and Talk Workshops and the Everybody Walk training.

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Mowing the Lawn doesn’t have to be a Chore.

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Office Stretches to do at your Desk

Stretching – underused and often forgotten by most walkers as part of their regular walking routine. It is useful for both injury prevention and injury treatment. If done properly, stretching increases flexibility and this directly translates into reduced risk of injury. When a muscle/tendon group has a greater range of motion passively, it will be less likely to experience tears when used actively.

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Eating more fruits and vegetables

Improving eating habits can be as simple as including plenty of color to your plate, according to the American Dietetic Association.

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

THE BASICS:

Fruits and vegetables are edible plants that can be eaten raw, cooked or dried. Increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in your food plan results in weight loss and fights chronic diseases.

RECOMMENDED SERVINGS:

Guidelines suggest women should eat 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-2.5 cups of vegetables. Men should eat 2 cups of fruits, and 2.5-3 cups of vegetables. Bottomline: Aim for five 1-cup servings a day.

THE RESEARCH:

A variety of fruits and vegetables protect you from a variety of health risks, and their color provides a key associated to these benefits. Try to eat some of these at least once a week:

Green produce promotes healthy vision and may reduce cancer risks. Choose avocados, apples, grapes, honeydew, melons, kiwi, limes, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, green beans, green peppers and leafy greens such as spinach.

Orange and deep yellow promotes healthy vision, immunity, and may reduce cancer risks. Choose apricots, cantaloupe, grapefruits, mangos, papayas, peaches, pineapples, carrots, yellow peppers, yellow corn and sweet potatoes.

Purple and blue has anti-aging benefits and may help with memory, urinary tract health and may reduce cancer risks. Choose blackberries, blueberries, plums, raisins, eggplant, purple cabbage and purple-fleshed potatoes.

Red helps maintain a healthy heart, vision, immunity and may reduce cancer risks. Choose cherries, cranberries, pomegranate, red/pink grapefruit, red grapes, watermelon, beets, red onions, red peppers, rhubarb and tomatoes.

White, tan and brown contain nutrients that promote heart health and may reduce cancer risks. Choose bananas, brown pears, dates, white peaches, cauliflower, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, turnips, white-fleshed potatoes and white corn.

QUICK TIPS:

  • Buy in season, when flavors are at their peak and produce costs less.
  • Buy pre-cut packages of fruits or vegetables for snacks, instead of chips or candy.
  • Keep a bowl of fruit in sight, or wherever you go first to find a snack. If you see them, you will eat them.
  • Add fruit to food you already eat, like cereal, oatmeal, pancakes, yogurt and salads.
  • Add veggies to food you already eat, like pasta dishes, canned soups, frozen pizza.
  • Shred carrots or zucchini into meatloaf, quick bread, muffins.
  • Use chunky salsa instead of thick, creamy snack dips.
  • Dip fruit in yogurt, low calorie pudding, peanut butter.
  • Dip veggies in salsa or low calorie dressings.
  • Fill half your dinner plate with vegetables.
  • Include a green salad with your dinner every night.
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