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Reduce Food Waste over the Holidays

The holiday eating season is upon us – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Food will be all around us – from the candy bins at the grocery store, to the New Year’s Day peas we have to eat. With all the food around us, there is also going to be a lot of food that ends up in the trash as food waste.

To avoid food waste:

Buy what you need & know what is in your refrigerator
Know how many are coming to your holiday meals so you can plan for the number of people that will be there. Think back to the amount of food you threw out the previous holiday season and do not make the same mistake. Sit down and write out grocery lists from meal plans. Look through your pantry and fridge to make sure you have checked off the items you have at home. Make sure those ‘once a year’ use items have not passed their use by dates.

Woman removing bottle from refrigerator in kitchen at home
Check the refrigerator for recipe items before putting items on your grocery shopping list
Smiling woman writing in notepad at grocery section of supermarket
Shop with a grocery list based on meal plans you have for Holiday meals

Eat your Leftovers
Refrigerate the leftovers as soon as you can. Know which leftovers can be repurposed in another recipe or those leftovers that can be served again. Follow good food safety practices and do not leave leftovers on the counter.

Reduce Portion Sizes
Serve food in plates of smaller size, by doing that you will not fill up your plate with more food than you can eat. Do not serve food family style or buffet style – serve it plated and serve it gradually. People will fill up and potentially eat less. Serve leftovers at another time, or repurpose them in another recipe.

Adding salad to a friend's plate at lunch
Place the food on the plate before serving – this manages portions and minimizes food waste

It takes planning to reduce food waste, but you may see the results in a fatter wallet and a narrower waist come the New Year.

Check out Nebraska Extension’s publication “14 Ways Consumers can Reduce Food Waste” for more ideas https://food.unl.edu/14-ways-consumers-can-reduce-food-waste