The most effective way to reduce food waste is to make a plan and buy only what you need.
Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping
- While planning for big holiday meals, we tend to forget what we already have in our kitchen cabinets, our fridges and our freezers. Before you go grocery shopping, check your cupboards to see what you already have on hand, and start your menu planning here. Half a container of molasses in the back of the pantry? Why not make gingersnaps?
- Plan portions appropriately. Be realistic about how much food you’ll really need, and try to prepare only what you and your guests will eat. Consider buying a slightly smaller turkey.
- Try “root to fruit” cooking – look for recipes that use the whole plant. Try potato peel soup or broccoli stalk pesto.
- Get it in writing. Once your planning is done, make a detailed grocery list and stick to it while shopping so you buy only what you need.
Plan for Leftovers
- Make room in your fridge. Before the holidays, start using up any food that needs to be eaten – leftovers, produce, scraps of bread – and clear out space in your fridge and freezer for new leftovers.
- Who wants to go grocery shopping on Boxing Day? Instead, make sure to get all the ingredients you’ll need to make use of your leftovers. If you’re a turkey sandwich fan, make sure you have bread. Turkey soup? Get those ingredients. Try our turkey soup recipe.
Plan to Reduce Waste
- Start a “broth bag.” If you can’t use the entire vegetable in a recipe, save the ends and tops in a re-sealable bag or container. Use them in your turkey soup stock, or freeze them to make a vegetable stock later.
- Giving food as a gift? Steer clear of highly perishable items, and try to pick foods you know the recipient will actually enjoy. (In other words, skip the fruitcake.)