Reducing Holiday Food Waste from Start to Finish

posted 12/14/2016

Big holiday plans mean big holiday meals. Whether turkey, ham or tofu is on the menu, do you ever stop to think how much of your meal is headed straight for the trash bin? The National Resource Defense Council says that 40% of all food produced in the United States is never eaten. That’s a lot of Christmas dinner going to waste! We have tips to go into holiday cooking season with a waste-reducing plan.

Read your Recipes

The more food your recipe makes, the more food you might have left over. Keep in mind the amount of people you’re cooking for and compare it with your recipe. Are you feeding five and your recipe serves 10? Halve it and cut out excessive leftovers!

Take Inventory + Start at the Store

You have all your ingredients written down and you’re ready to shop, but before you go, do a quick cupboard check. You might find that some of your grocery list items are already sitting on a shelf, forgotten behind boxes of cereal or soup cans. The fewer ingredients you purchase from the store, the less money you spend and the less waste you’ll have to get rid of.

Get your Tupperware Ready

The freezer is your friend for large amounts of leftovers – food can be kept frozen for quite some time and used when you need a quick meal. For smaller amounts of leftovers, be sure to have plenty of to-go containers so you can refrigerate and eat them within a couple days or, send them home with your dinner guests. You can also check with local homeless shelters, but it is often difficult to donate already prepared foods.

Consider Composting

If eating leftovers for a week straight isn’t your style, how about composting them? Backyard composting is a simple, cheap way to reduce food waste. Compost helps keep soil and plants healthy, leaving you with a better yard and garden! Vegetables, stale bread and even pie crusts can go in your compost pile, but keep meat, dairy and greasy food out.

Lend a Hand

While cooking food for your family may be your favorite holiday tradition, helping to prepare a meal for those in need can also be a fulfilling experience. Hope Ministries has numerous options for preparing food for the hungry, both during the holidays and year-round.

Have some food-saving tips you want us to share? Share with us on Facebook (Metro Waste Authority) or tweet us @MetroWaste. We’d love to hear from you!