SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The USDA estimates that about 15 million households were food insecure in 2017.
And people who were food insecure also reported poorer health, according to the CDC.
While not everyone is a fan of leftovers, Rodney McClure says without them, he’d go hungry.
“I love leftovers. Like I said if it wasn’t for leftovers I’d starve to death. I used to work everyday, and I’d take leftovers to work you know,” McClure said.
Eating leftovers instead of tossing them out doesn’t only keep you full, but also cuts down on the grocery bill.
“There’s no waste in my house. We do everything, my wife is usually an awesome cook so,” McClure said.
But not everyone is using up their groceries. The USDA estimates food waste in the U.S. to be between 30 to 40 percent of the food supply.
“Food waste has really become a rising concern in our country. I think with issues like sustainability being brought up more often it’s something that we’re talking about more and how we can do that on a smaller level at home,” Amanda Lambrecht said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says donating excess food can make a big difference to those in need. Registered dietitian Amanda Lambrechts also says instead of wasting food, get creative.
“One thing that maybe goes bad pretty quickly would be something like bananas. So something that you can do before they’re completely brown, obviously you can use them in banana bread, but you can also put them in your freezer and then use them at a later time,” Lambrechts said.
People hoping to cut down on the grocery bill even more can look for produce in the ‘misfit’ section at Hy-Vee.
“Physically their appearance isn’t as pretty or acceptable as others, but nutritionally they’re just as good,” Lambrechts said.
When it comes to food, looks shouldn’t matter– but your health should.
Dietitians say a lack of proper nutrition can lead to more problems than just feeling hungry.
“It’s going to be more difficult to focus, it’s going to just be harder to thrive in life if you’re not getting enough of that good nourishment for your brain and the rest of your body,” Lambrechts said.
So before tossing out the leftovers, consider other meals you could make with them instead.
Lambrechts adds that the ‘sell by’ date and the ‘best by’ date can often cause confusion– stating that the ‘sell by’ date refers to when food is at it’s peak freshness and is ok to eat.