Australians are throwing out healthy food parts without realising it, dietitians have revealed.
Up to half of the food we buy from the supermarket ends up in the bin or the compost, despite much of the waste being packed full of nutrients.
From eggshells and potato skins to chicken bones and watermelon peel, FEMAIL reveals the secret health foods you should be making the most of.
Top of the list that people waste is chicken bones, which are filled with digestion-supporting gelatin, and can be used for myriad dishes.
Holistic food author and nutritionist Lee Holmes is an especially big fan of keeping some of the carcass from your Sunday roast, as she said it makes the perfect ‘healing chicken broth’ later.
‘Soothing and immune boosting broth supports digestion by healing and sealing the digestive tract,’ Lee writes on her website.
‘You can consume it as a soup or soothing drink or use it in any recipe that calls for stock.’
To use your chicken bones at home, Lee recommends you boil down the bones of a whole chicken and two chicken feet for 24-48 hours with the likes of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, celery, onion and garlic.
‘The addition of apple cider vinegar helps to draw valuable minerals from the bones to boost your bone broth and fast track gut healing,’ Lee said.
BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER STEMS AND LEAVES
While many people eat broccoli and cauliflower for their nutritional benefits, you might be horrified to hear you’re throwing out the most nutritious parts: the stem and the leaves.
According to researchers and dietitians from Ohio State University, the leaves are one of the richest sources of calcium in vegetables.
As well as this, the leaves contain fibre, iron and vitamin A, which are crucial in helping to boost your immunity and complexion.
What are some of the other foods you shouldn’t throw away?
* Watermelon rind
* Potato skins
* The outer layers of an onion
* Cucumber skin
* Banana peel
* Out-dated olive oil
The stems are also supremely good for you, and so you shouldn’t throw them away when you ditch parts from your broccoli.
We all know someone who eats the orange peel. But it turns out they might be onto something.
According to Healthline, the peel has three times more vitamin C and four times more fibre than the fruit.
Orange peel also contains good amounts of provitamin A, folate, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, and calcium.
And while it might have a slightly astringent taste, your health will thank you.
On the slightly more wacky side of things, eggshells can also be a nutritious food source, even though you might not realise it.
Eggshells consist mainly of calcium carbonate, a common form of calcium, and they also have protein and other minerals.
Some people condense and crush eggshells to make them into eggshell powder, which helps to give you extra calcium.
However, experts recommend that you don’t try this unless you know how.
Like oranges, the skin of kiwis can also be consumed at home – and it’s seen as the most nutritious part.
Healthline reports that kiwi skin is rich in fibre, folate and vitamin E.
Eating the skin of a kiwi can increase its fibre content by 50 per cent, boost folate by 32 per cent and raise vitamin E concentration by 34 per cent, compared to eating the flesh alone.
Speaking previously to FEMAIL, dietitian Lyndi Cohen said: ‘Kiwi fruit are interesting because people don’t know you can eat the skin.
‘There’s more flavonoids, more antioxidants and almost twice the amount of fibre in the skin.’
According to Lee Holmes, it’s not just the stalks of celery you can eat, but the leaves too.
‘You can toss them into salads, or use them in stir-fries and soups,’ she told FEMAIL.
‘When making stock throw in leaves too, as they can also be blended into sauces.
‘Fragrant and aromatic celery leaves contain magnesium, calcium, and vitamin C, and can also be used as a condiment for extra flavour.’
You might eat your chickpeas and beans without giving the water they lie in a second thought.
But experts say the water or ‘aquafaba’ is the best bit – and it’s especially useful as an egg substitute for vegans.
Aquafaba can turn into convincing vegan meringues, mousses, cakes and even cocktails when combined with sugar. Three tablespoons is roughly equal to one egg.
All you need to do is make sure it is thick enough, heating it on the hob if too watery, before whipping.
While you shouldn’t directly eat the cob or husk of your corn, it can be put to good use.
Simply simmer raw or roasted corn cobs with salt to make corn broth, and an ideal base for corn chowder.
CARROT AND POTATO SKIN
In the same way that fruit is best with the skin on, so too are carrots, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
‘We used to be told to peel your carrots, but just rinsing them allows the highest amount of nutrients to be kept,’ Lyndi Cohen told FEMAIL.
You can also keep the tops according to Lee Holmes, who said they can be used in ‘salads, coleslaw, soup stocks and sauces’.
When it comes to the rind of a lemon, it might not be palatable – but it has big nutrition benefits.
‘The majority of nutrients are found in skin or just below, particularly in oranges and lemons which have twice as much vitamin c in the skin than in the fruit,’ Lyndi said.
‘People recommend you use the rind in salad dressings or meats because it adds flavour and tendorises, so that’s a good way to get those nutrients in.’
Lee also agrees that these work wonders in both baking and salad dressings.