Food waste is a big problem around the world. Not only does food waste enhance harmful environmental impacts from farming and manufacturing, but it also highlights the disparity between those with enough and those with nothing. No one feels great about throwing away their food, especially when it’s delicious, so I’ve brainstormed a few ways we can work together to prevent food waste this holiday season.
There are many homeless people who will not have a home-cooked meal during the holidays. Rather than letting all the great food you made go to waste, why not package it up and take it to people who need it? Unfortunately, many homeless people do not get to eat a well-balanced diet, so make sure to include some meat, produce, and starches when taking leftovers.
Cook for the Group
During the holidays, people are always tempted to overcook. After all, we specifically set aside this time of year to make and share dishes that take longer or do not fit in during other times. Rather than hosting a potluck or having one person cook an extra large meal, I highly encourage you to cook for the people you will be serving. This not only includes cooking the right amount of food, but also cooking dishes that everyone will enjoy. You should also try to account for how much each person eats, as this will vary. You can go even further and break it down by dish, if you have a good idea of your guests’ preferences. By doing this, you will lessen the chance of leaving the dinner table with food to throw away.
Eat Smaller Meals
During the holidays, it is always tempting to cook one large meal and over-indulge. However, this isn’t necessarily the best option. Think about how many times you sit down to eat and find out you aren’t as hungry as you previously thought. This happens frequently when you have many options in front of you. Despite this, people tend to overeat, only to feel hungry again in 4-5 hours. Instead of continuing this tradition, I propose a new solution: cooking and eating smaller meals throughout the day. Holiday meals can often include all of the components for 2-3 full meals, so rather than making them all at once, set aside specific times to eat lunch, dinner, and a late-night snack. Spacing them apart by a few hours will give you time to digest and really enjoy all of the food your family has to offer.
Finally, let’s talk leftovers. Some foods just aren’t as great when you reheat them, no matter which method you use and how many tricks you try. That being said, there are some great ways to repurpose leftovers. If you make poultry, try an open-faced sandwich with white or dark meat and gravy. You can also combine veggies to make your own medley, or warm some mashed potatoes up in the oven just long enough to get a slight crisp on the outside. Repurposing your leftovers will leave your palate happy, while also helping the environment.
This season, we need to make an effort to help the earth by reducing our impact on the environment. Although many people overlook it, food waste contributes to this impact significantly. Next time you get together with family, try your best to incorporate one of these methods to do your part in helping our planet.