If there’s one thing that dominates a festive season, regardless of what you celebrate, it’s an abundance of food.The only downside to this good fortune is how easy it is to neglect our own food at home, only realizing that we’ve wasted good produce once it’s too late. That’s why it’s important to follow the four easy tips below, so you’ll be able to fully enjoy the holidays with a slightly lighter heart, knowing that you’re doing your part to reduce food waste this season.
1. Buy less groceries
If you know you have a party-filled schedule one week, try significantly cutting down your grocery load. All you have to do is count the number of meals you’ll be eating outside the home and accommodate for that in a smaller grocery run. As simple as this sounds, any kind of shopping during the holidays can prove to be a tricky obstacle. With so many sales, and such colourful packaging to lure you in, it can be quite easy to overspend on food that you really don’t need. So write down a list beforehand, accounting for those holiday party meals, and stick to it!
2. Bring reusable containers
When was the last time you went to a holiday party and there was too little food? Likely never. Most hosts this time of year prepare way too much food, which means there are a lot of leftovers available at the end of the gathering. The likelihood that the host will want to keep (and eat) everything that’s left behind is low, so do them a favour by offering to take some excess food home. Better yet, by bringing your own reusable containers you save them the hassle of finding clever ways to pack everything up (while people are eager to give food away, parting with personal tupperware is another story)! If you’re worried this will cross some social line, test the waters by asking only close friends and family - you’ll be surprised by how relieved they’ll be you asked.
3. Search “holiday leftover recipes” online
Google is handy for a lot of things, but one my of my favourite uses is to find recipes and meal ideas for unique ingredients. Extra cranberry sauce? Leftover latkes? A mountain of excess rice? Sometimes it’s difficult figure out how to turn your leftovers into a new meal. Luckily, the internet is full of creative minds and so a quick recipe search with your leftover ingredient will surely source you some new ways to eat your family’s festive speciality without exhausting your favourite holiday food.
4. Donate the good stuff
Apart from being a great holiday practice, donating food to your local food bank or shelter is a great way to ensure that what you’re not eating goes into the hands of someone who truly needs. While most donation centres focus on unopened non-perishable goods, think canned tomatoes, bags of rice and lentils, peanut butter, and dried pasta, some smaller charities may accept quality perishable foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. Do a quick search of your neighbourhood to figure out which food bank is closest to you, what items they need most, then take stock of what you, and the friends and family you visit, can donate. After all, it is the season of giving.
You can follow the author of this article, Maggie Clark, on Instagram @omnivoresdelight