Food waste is awful, and there is no time where wasting food is more common than the holiday season. Whether it is Thanksgiving or New Year’s Day, household waste can increase dramatically during seasonal events, especially if you are staying home and hosting your own party.
On paper, this might seem fine, but it can quickly begin to add up when you consider how many people are celebrating the same event. A small amount of wasted food in each household is still a significant amount of waste across the whole country or even just one specific state.
Reducing your food waste is important, and there are a few ways to make it much easier during your next set of holiday celebrations.
Always Plan Ahead
It is better to have a plan than to just buy food whenever you feel like it. A large amount of food waste happens because people who buy excess food were not actually thinking ahead, meaning that they bought far too much or ended up purchasing food that they would not then have a chance to use.
While you can freeze extra food that you are not able to use, this is only a solution in the short term. Smart food purchasing is an important part of making sure that you are not buying things that you will waste, even if that means something as simple as creating a grocery list.
Also, keep in mind that you can’t plan too far ahead. Always double-check how many people will be attending your holiday celebrations, and be sure that you have at least a little extra food just in case. Do not under-purchase food, but make sure that you are not buying more than you can actually use.
The more you know about your eating habits and the kind of food you want to make, the better. Think about how much you tend to cook, what you are planning to serve, how many people might be visiting, and the kind of meals that you could create with what is left. If you see any blank spots, then you might need to do more planning.
As mentioned earlier, freezing food is a valid solution. If the food is already cooked, then you can even keep the remnants of your holiday cooking as a prepared meal: it could become breakfast the next morning, another dinner, or just something to snack on at the weekend.
You need space to freeze things, of course, so be sure that you have the room available. You can freeze both cooked and uncooked food, but the exact way that you do it depends on how you want to store it and when you actually plan to use the extra food again.
Almost any type of food can be frozen and re-used later on, although there might be certain ways that you need to freeze specific things. Either way, it is worth the effort, especially since it can help you preserve foods that you might not want to use immediately after the festive season ends.
You can always re-use the food that you have frozen, either on its own or as part of a larger meal. As long as you are not throwing it away, you are avoiding food waste and keeping your fridge stocked. Just remember that frozen food should still be used eventually, especially if your freezer is getting full.
If you can’t handle the amount of food that you have bought, then be sure to share it around with other people. Give some to family and friends if they enjoyed it, or find other people that might be willing to take excess purchases off your hands.
It is always better to give away food than it is to let it spoil, especially if it is perfectly edible and you simply do not have the space for it. Giving it to friends can not only let them keep it instead, but it can also help out family and friends that might not have the budget for much holiday food of their own.
It can also be a great thing to pass along if you have bought food specifically for a certain person. For example, if you got gluten-free holiday food for a person with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, then giving them the leftovers can be a nice gesture and a huge benefit to them.
You could consider planning ahead and handing some of the food to your guests or visitors at the end of the holiday celebration, meaning that they can take some home. Otherwise, you might have to offer it to anybody that visits you afterward, which can be a hassle for both parties.
Donate Unused Food
Any canned, dried, or otherwise preserved foods that you did not get around to using can be donated instead. This is a great way to get rid of things that you have not even opened, especially if you really need to clear space in your kitchen or cupboards.
Donating to food banks and shelters is always a nice thing to do, and it can really help certain people deal with not having enough money to feed themselves. It also means that you are not stuck with more food than you can use, although you will not be able to donate things you have already opened and started eating.
This is always a better option than simply throwing food away. If there is anything that you can’t donate directly, then you can always try making something to give away to people you know personally. The more you re-use, the less you waste.© Copyright 2022. All Right Reserved.