During the holidays, families and friends come together and enjoy delicious, traditional food. Often, these get-togethers create excessive amounts of food waste from packaging, scraps, and leftovers. Rather than mindlessly throwing away food at the end of a celebration, it’s time to consider ways to reduce this practice.
The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, or is it? Because so many people have specialized diets because of food allergies, diabetes, and digestive issues, many food gifts end up in the garbage. Your well-meaning gift could turn out to be landfill fodder, or worse, send someone for a holiday emergency room visit.
Rather than giving food gifts, consider giving something less edible. Some of the best non-food gifts include kitchen gadgets, holiday ornaments, and houseplants. If you can’t shake the warm-and-fuzzies of gifting a holiday meal, consider ham or turkey gifts in the form of a gift certificate. That way, your recipient can choose their own meal when they visit the store, no guesswork required.
Compost food waste
Instead of throwing food waste into the trash that goes to local landfills, start composting your food scraps. The process of composting is simple to begin and eventually turns your uneaten and unwanted food into rich, nutritious garden soils.
Use what you have in your pantry and minimize packaging
If you want to reduce the amount of food you throw away, enjoy the food you already have. Make recipes for your guests using what is in your pantry and buy minimal amounts of produce or other perishable ingredients. When you purchase food for your party, buy food that comes in reusable packaging. Where possible, try to buy food with no packaging at all, such as from a farmer’s market.
Try to avoid buying food that comes in non-recyclable packaging. Before putting food containers in your recycling, clean them out so recycling centers can use them.
Donate leftover food
Use your perishable food items first and save the canned and boxed food for last. This way, if you have anything leftover, you can donate the canned and boxed food to your local food pantry.
Offer small plates
When you prepare recipes for your party, make less than you think you’ll need. If you run out of food, then you run out. You can always order food if your guests are still chomping at the bit. All too often, guests fill their plates with more than they can eat. So, keep the plates small. If your guests want to come back for seconds, they can.
Thoughtfully plan your meals
To ensure your guests have enough to eat and you don’t have excessive amounts of leftovers, plan your meals thoughtfully. Recipes include how many people they feed, so use those numbers to determine how much you need to prepare. Food waste apps can help you plan exactly how much food you need.
Store your leftovers safely
Keeping leftovers safe depends on how you store them. Put leftovers in small covered containers so you’ll eat the food and not let it go to waste. Place reminders on your phone if you often forget about food in your fridge.
Avoiding food waste takes planning and buying foods that create less waste. Your holiday can be bountiful without being hard on the planet using these seven tips.