UNITED STATES—Food, it’s a universal element that all Americans need to survive, however, we live in a world where there are so many individuals who don’t have any food or not enough on a daily basis. I will be the first person to admit that I do not waste food in any capacity. When I do, the first thing that pops into my mind is what about that child or that adult who doesn’t have food on a daily or weekly basis. I feel guilty about it, and it’s not a feeling I like to have.

I think this all comes down to food portions and not overeating when you’re hungry. I’ll give you a perfect example. I recently went out to eat at the casino, where of course they have a buffet. I like buffet and it’s not the notion of all you can eat, it’s the variety of options that are available to the patrons. I mean you can go veggie, seafood, pasta, Mexican, Chinese, Greek, Southern or pure American. The dishes available for consumption are endless.

However, I do not believe in the notion of piling on my plate to the point that I have so much food that I can barely eat it. I witnessed this time and time again during my outing and it not only appalled me, but I was baffled by what I was seeing. Tons and I mean tons of food was being wasted, and many of the customers could care less about it.

So I just sat at the table for a moment; I was trying to think what I wanted to eat, but at the same time just thinking about what food items would pair well. So when I finally decided to leave my table and venture to the buffet, I kept things light. I only put things on my plate that I wanted to eat and I did so in small portions. Why? It’s a buffet, the food options are limitless, and there is no need to overeat. Have a little taste here and there. Take a moment, allow your food to digest, and then if you’re still hungry you can make another trip to the buffet. I’ll be honest, I never really see people make more than two trips to the buffet, for those that do; people start to give the weird eye.

Yes, you may think you’re not being judged at the buffet, but people are always watching American, especially when you least expect. This brings me back to where we started the conversation: what happens to all that food at the end of the day? Yes, this concerns me because I used to work at a supermarket, and the one thing I respected about our company is we didn’t waste food. When we receive food merchandise that was slightly damaged and could not be sold we donated it to the local food shelters. That food went to those in need, instead of food just being tossed in the trash. The same applied to produce that was not the freshest, but still eatable.

I wonder if that is the same sentiment at the buffet. I was told that items were donated to Forgotten Harvest, a company that aims to provide food for those in need and I love that. There are so many Americans who have endless supplies of food, and for the life of me fails to realize they shouldn’t be wasteful with it, when you have so many who don’t have the options that you have. For some people you simply have to eat what is available. The options are not limitless and as a result some people get creative in the kitchen.

I do want to send a clear message to Americans: be aware of the food that you waste. There is so much waste that transpires on a daily basis that could be given to those who don’t have an abundance of wealth or options when it comes to food consumption. You may not be in a situation where you’re struggling day by day to survive; however, anything can happen that places you in a situation where your food abundance diminishes ever so slightly. Be grateful for what you have because there are so many out there who would love to be in your position.