The holiday season is upon us, which translates for many of us to: colourful lights, gift exchanges, time with loved ones and, arguably most importantly... excessive delicious food! While nobody is complaining about the increase of feasting during the holidays, attention should be paid to the potential for needless waste.
Check out these simple tips to help avoid food waste:
1. Make note of what you already have in your fridge
Planning a grand holiday meal for loved ones can be stressful, and some of that stress comes directly from the sheer number of things that must be remembered and items to be collected from the store before cooking can take place. This holiday-induced cooking time-crunch usually results in a run to the local supermarket with a mental list of key items needed for the meal, with the intention of 'picking up whatever else I see that I need while I'm there'. Don't forget to do a thorough raid of your kitchen and fridge before running out to the store and making note of all the things you DO have already. If you forget to do this, chances are you'll pick up all sorts of things at the store that you already have sitting at home. Being organized ahead of time will reduce both your personal cost, and the harm on the environment from wasted food!
2. Help yourself to (somewhat) appropriate portions
As I mentioned, the holiday season is associated with feasting. While this is true, it's also important to remember to not claim more than you will be able to eat. It's true that often, our eyes are much, MUCH bigger than our stomachs and what looks like a reasonably-sized meal may in fact be much more than one person can eat. This is a trap of holiday eating, especially when everything in front of you looks delicious! Usually when food ends up on our plates un-eaten, it gets thrown into the trash and ends up in landfills, whereas food left-over in its original serving dish gets saved for leftovers or give-aways. Avoid heaping portions and instead opt for more frequent trips for smaller sized dishes.
3. Leftovers are meant to be eaten
Next-day turkey and mashed potato sandwiches are a delicious delicacy of the holiday season, and should be respected as such! On a serious note though, holiday leftovers can quickly overwhelm our fridge and leave us low on space. It's good idea to eat up these leftover meals sooner rather than later, as they can go bad faster than we realize. Packing a lunch for work or offering a meal to the lawn-guy are easy (and free) ways of using up your leftovers and keeping them out of the landfills, but if it's apparent that you simply have too many tupperware containers in the fridge, try giving some away to friends and family who stop by.