Reduce Food Waste During the Holidays

Reduce Food Waste During the Holidays

Did you know that almost 40% of food is wasted from farm to fork, according to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)?

Much of that food is wasted at the consumer level. More than half of restaurant leftovers end up in the trash and more than 40% of our groceries will never be eaten. From uneaten leftovers, to produce that spoils before we eat it, to confusion over date labels, and the science experiment in the back of your refrigerator that was once a delicious pasta dish- we’re wasting time and money on food that will never be eaten.

Food waste costs the average family more than $1,500 a year. We waste time at the grocery store and in the kitchen purchasing and creating meals that will just get tossed into the trash, and the problem only gets worse around the holidays when we’re cooking larger meals and away from home.

But, there are easy steps you can take to reduce food waste this holiday season!


5 Ways to Feed Your Family, Not Landfills

1. Prepare the correct amount of food for your guests. Every party host worries about having enough food. This year, dismiss your worries with Save The Food’s  ‘guest-imator’, a handy tool from the NRDC that helps you create a menu based on how many people are attending your holiday feast. 

2. Reduce plate waste by using smaller dishes and serving spoons. Of course, guests can always come back for seconds.

3. Plan ahead for leftovers. Have to-go containers ready for guests to pack up portions of their favorite dishes or ask them to bring their own containers.

4. Resist impulse purchases or if a deal is too good to pass up, reduce your other dishes/food purchases to equalize the amount you’re preparing.

5. Plan to use up special ingredients. Many holiday dishes call for specific herbs, cream, or half of a given vegetable. Find recipes that use these items and incorporate your other leftovers to make new meals from ingredients you already have on hand! 

Here are some fun holiday twists on leftovers:

  • Make barbeque turkey pizza with your choice of veggies and cheese.
  • Remake mashed potatoes into potato pancakes by adding leftover herbs, seasoning and an egg to bind it together.
  • Add cranberry sauce to oatmeal for a holiday breakfast.
  • A turkey carcass makes a great base for a soup stock. Once the stock is ready, add any leftover shredded turkey and veggies to the soup. Soup/stock can be frozen for use later.
  • Use a food processor to make bread crumbs from old bread. Toss the crumbs with olive oil and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, then use them to coat bite sized balls of leftover sweet potatoes to make sweet potato tater tots.  
  • For more ideas click to view 60+ Thanksgiving leftover recipes and 30 vegetarian Thanksgiving Leftover recipes.

Now that you’ve reduced your food waste, learn about composting at home to divert even more food scraps from the landfill and help improve your soil and reduce your outdoor water use at the same time!