Top 5 Ways to Save Food this Holiday Season
Top 5 Ways to Save Food this Holiday Season
The holidays are about bonding with your favorite people, exchanging gifts and stories, sharing laughs and joys, and of course, enjoying the center of many holiday traditions, all the delicious foods that adorn every dinner table.
Let’s be honest, just thinking of your favorite holiday dish right now makes us smile and gets our mouths watering instantly. Am I right? And yet, almost half of all food prepared (in the U.S.) during the holiday season never really gets eaten and unfortunately only ends up in landfills which contributes to climate change. Not only that, but it’s also worth considering that when we waste food, it means that we’re also wasting resources used to produce said foods.
That’s why and how reducing food waste can help the environment. By doing so, we can help conserve our natural resources and lessen the environmental impact it has on our planet.
If we start reducing food waste this holiday season, it would be a really good way to have a sustainable holiday and save the Earth.
Learn how to save money on food during the holidays while also saving the planet with these ways to save food!
Top 5 Ways to Reduce Food Waste this Holiday Season
Try these tips to reduce food waste and have a more sustainable holiday!
1. Plan your holiday menu.
I know hosting a party or a holiday feast can be a bit worrying, especially about having enough food for your guests. So sometimes, we tend to make a lot more thinking that “It’s better to have more food than not have enough.” then, ending up with too much leftovers.
By planning your menu in advance, you can save food and reduce food waste by avoiding too much leftovers.
First, set a budget—yes, it’s important to avoid buying too much. Next, determine how much food you need to make and prepare according to the number of your guests. Then create your menu of dishes you want to make to determine what you need to buy (and how much of it you need) and what you may already have stock in your pantry.
Not having a plan will increase your chances of buying unnecessary items (and amount) that instead of filling up tummies, will only and likely fill your trash bin.
2. Use your stock.
After creating your meal plan, write up your holiday shopping list of ingredients and items you need to get.
But before you go to your local market or grocery, you might want to dig and rummage through your cupboards or pantry to see what you already have. Cross them out of your list to avoid doubling—especially those common kitchen staples like herbs, spices, condiments, etc.
What’s great about this is that not only can you reduce food waste, but also save some money (if you do find what you need in your kitchen). Now that’s a win-win.
3. Utilize everything you have.
Another one of the top ways to save food and how to avoid and reduce food waste at home is to use everything you have and can. Embrace all foods. And yes, that includes even the slightly wilted fruits and veggies.
So instead of throwing them away, consider adding them to your menu. There are lots of things you can do with fruits and veggies that don't require serving them as they are. Try, for example, making holiday jams, or maybe some pies, or you can add your soft veggies to make your own homemade sauces or soups. You can even pack them in a mason jar for your guests to take home, or as a gift!
You can also use the scraps like onion peels or rinds, or bones to make stock for other meals.
Really, all you need is a little creativity with these ingredients and you’re good.
4. Plan for leftovers.
One of the top tips to reduce food waste is to lessen or even avoid leftovers. But of course, it’s not easy to do that while wanting to feed your guests and not run out of food. The next best thing to go with is to have a plan ready for your leftovers.
You can freeze your extras properly, so you can reheat them later when you want to. Or repurpose them to make other dishes.
If you could make an entire feast with no leftovers at all, then that’s really awesome. But just in case you do end up with leftovers, at least you know what to do with them, instead of throwing them away to rot in landfills.
5. Share with others.
The true spirit of holidays is about being kind to others, spreading cheer and joy, and giving.
If you have food to spare, like unused and unopened ingredients or leftovers that are still good, you can donate them to the local food bank near you that supports and feeds the homeless. You can find them through organizations like:
- Feeding America- Find Your Local Food Bank. You can also donate directly to the site.
- Sustainable America- Food Rescue Locator
- AmpleHarvest.org where you can search for food pantries near you by ZIP code
Just make sure that these excess foods are still good by storing them properly. Avoid over-serving as foods are more likely to stay in good condition in their container rather than in serving plates or bowls.
You can also pack your leftovers that are still good to share with people you know who haven't had the time or weren't fortunate enough to have a holiday dinner. It’s a great way to not only make their holiday but also to reduce food waste so our planet can also have a merrier, happier and more sustainable holiday, too.
By learning the ways to save food— and implementing them, not only for the holidays, but also for our everyday life, we are bringing more joy to the planet, and providing the care it needs and deserves.
Here’s to a HEALTHIER EARTH. Spread the joy and have a merry and happy holiday, everyone!