By YES! Coordinator Katelyn Larsen
This article was adapted from the Holiday food planning article that appeared in the Living Green 365 newsletter on November 24, 2015. You can sign up for the newsletter at www.livinggreen365.org.
The holidays are right around the corner! While planning your holiday meal, think about ways to cut food waste before, during, and after the meal. This will translate to less food thrown away, which means less demand for water, land, and fuel.
Before the meal:
- Create a shopping list for meals you can make using ingredients you already have at home. Try to limit the amount of ingredients you need to purchase by choosing recipes with ingredients that can be used in multiple meals.
- Think about portion planning. Hosts typically cook too much, which results in more food being wasted if no one likes eating leftovers. This Perfect Portions guide from Love Food Hate Waste is a great tool to help you take the guesswork away from planning meals!
- Preparing fruits and vegetables for the week right after you get back from the store is a great way to ensure those foods are eaten as they make for great quick snacks! Guides like Smart Strategy and the A-Z Food Storage Tips offer great ways to extend the life of your produce.
During the meal:
- Encourage your guests to take smaller portions by offering smaller plates and utensils. As an added bonus to less food being thrown away, it is more hygienic to use leftovers from serving platters than individuals’ plates.
- Allowing guests to serve themselves reduces the amount of unwanted food on plates because it gives guests an opportunity to choose the items and quantity they want to consume.
After the meal:
- When storing leftovers, opt for smaller, individually sized containers as they are convenient for quick meals.
- Help your family members out by indicating what foods should be eaten first. Designate a section in your fridge for these foods and attach an “Eat First” sign.
- Family not a fan of straight up leftovers? Think of creative ways to use your leftovers. Love Food Hate Waste offers some great recipes to help you out!
- Sometimes, food needs to be thrown out. Instead of throwing it in your garbage, consider starting to compost in your backyard if you haven’t already. If you live in a community that offers curbside pick-up or drop-off sites for food waste, make sure you sign up! Composting recycles your food waste into nutrient rich soil, reducing the demand at landfill sites.
- If you have leftover canned or dried foods, donate them! Check with your local food bank or shelter to find out what donations they accept.