Reducing Holiday Food Waste
10 easy tips to make this season less wasteful and more plentiful
UN Food and Agriculture Organization statistics illustrate a dire global problem: We squander nearly one third of our food through food waste (on the consumption side) and food losses (on the production side). In developed countries, over 40% of losses come from companies and consumers throwing out perfectly good food. And on the production side, we lose enough food to feed at least 48 million people due to inefficiencies in harvesting, storage and delivery, according to the FAO.
The holiday season is a time for gifts, decorations, and lots and lots of food. As a result, it's also a time of spectacular amounts of waste. In the United States, we generate an extra 5 million tons of household waste each year between Thanksgiving and New Year's, including three times as much food waste as at other times of the year. When our total food waste adds up to 34 million tons each year, that equals a lot of food. Here are eight simple steps we all can take to help make this season less wasteful and more plentiful.
Plan Your Meal. The fear of not providing enough to eat often causes hosts to cook too much. Instead, plan out how much food you and your guests will realistically need, and stock up accordingly.
Make a List and Check it Twice. Create a shopping list before heading to the farmers' market or grocery store. Sticking to this list will reduce the risk of impulse buys or buying unnecessary quantities, particularly since stores typically use holiday sales to entice buyers into spending more.
Avoid Portion Distortion. The season of indulgence often promotes plates piled high with more food than can be eaten. Simple tricks of using smaller serving utensils or plates can encourage smaller portions, reducing the amount left on plates. Guests can always take second (or third!) servings if still hungry, and it is much easier (and hygienic) to use leftovers from serving platters for future meals.
Self Service Please. Allow guests to serve themselves, choosing what, and how much, they would like to eat. This helps to make meals feel more familiar and also reduces the amount of unwanted food left on guests' plates.
Store It Safely. Properly storing our leftovers will preserve them safely for future meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that hot foods be left out for no more than two hours. Store leftovers in smaller, individually sized containers, making them more convenient to grab for a quick meal rather than being passed over and eventually wasted.
Compost The Most. Instead of throwing out the vegetable peels, eggshells, and other food scraps from making your meal, consider composting them. Individual composting systems can be relatively easy and inexpensive, and provide quality inputs for garden soils.
Re-Use and Re-purpose. If composting is not your thing, think about using your food scraps new meals. Vegetable scraps and turkey carcasses can be easily boiled down for stock and soups, and bread crusts and ends can be used to make tasty homemade croutons.
Pay It Forward. Food banks and shelters gladly welcome donations of canned and dried foods, especially during the holiday season and colder months. The charity group Feeding America partners with over 200 local food banks across the United States, supplying food to more than 37 million people each year.
As we sit down this week to give thanks for the people and things around us, we must also recognize those who may not be so fortunate. The food wasted in the United States each year is enough to satisfy the hunger of the approximately 1 billion malnourished people worldwide, according to Tristram Stuart, a food waste expert and contributing author to State of the World 2011. As we prepare for upcoming holiday celebrations, the simple changes we make, such as using food responsibly and donating excess to the hungry, can help make the holiday season more plentiful and hunger-free for all.
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Low Glycemic No Added Sugar Fudge
Ala Low Carb, Low Glycemic, Diabetic safe, no added sugar, made with stevia
Carbs Per Serving: 9.1 g
Prep Time:<25 minutes
Skill Level: Easy
16 ounces low fat or fat free cream cheese, softened
2 unsweetened chocolate squares (1ounce each) melted and cooled
1/2 cup Fructevia, Steviva Brand Stevia Blend or a dash of Steviva Brand Stevia Powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, chocolate, Fructevia, Steviva Brand Stevia Blend or a dash of Steviva Brand Stevia Powder and vanilla until smooth. Stir in pecans. Pour into 8-inch square baking pan lined with foil. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Cut into 16 squares. Serve chilled.
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