The holiday season and 2022 is upon us! Here are five easy tips to waste less and reduce your own food waste footprint now and into the coming year.
(SPOILER ALERT: #5 of them is to eat upcycled. Shocking, we know!)
Let's get started...
1) Your Meal Plan Is Shopping List
Decide which recipes you’ll cook for the week before heading to the store. It is more efficient, less stressful, and will result in less food waste.
Before you make your list, check your pantry first! Even Santa makes a list. We are mere mortals, and our memory is faulty.
Then, and most importantly, shop from your list. Buying less, only what you know you need, is the most impactful way to save money and ensure you’ll use it all up.
2) Properly Store and Consume Your Leftovers
Cooking the exact amount you need is challenging. When there inevitably is there’s food leftover, have a plan to make sure it does not go to waste.
For the holidays, provide containers for people to transport leftovers home with them so that the extra food is eaten.
No fancy Tupperware? No problem! Make your own using empty containers from previous weeks' groceries.
Pack leftovers for lunch or designate a “Leftovers Night” once a week to clean out the fridge. Easy go-to fridge clearing meals including stir-fry, curry, soups and scrambles.
Be sure to use your freezer too! Almost everything can be frozen for different uses. Spinach, fruits, and even avocados, for example, can be frozen and turned into smoothies. Cooked grains and rice and meat can go in sauces and soups. Just remember to label and date everything so you remember what it is!
3) Upcycle Your Own Kitchen Scraps
Compost is amazing, but there are many ways to upcycle your own food at home.
One easy way to use up your own scraps is to make soup stock. Chicken bones, winter squash peels/guts, carrot peels, onion and garlic skins, even apple cores turn “garbage” into kitchen gold.
4) Teach Your Children Well (and your Friends too!)
Action begins with awareness, and we all have the power to raise awareness. Food waste is not a new issue, but is one that not everyone is aware of.
Globally we are losing $940 billion from food loss and waste. 28% of land and 21% of fresh water goes to food that is wasted. Food waste accounts for 8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.
Metrics aside, everyone can benefit from learning to respect where food comes from, and the resources put in to grow, pack, ship and cook food. We can learn to be mindful of waste and change our culture.
5) Eat Upcycled Food
Many companies are using delicious and nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste to offer a wide range of products. If you are here already, the concept of upcycled food and the new certification is probably not new to you. That said, to find products, the Upcycled Food Association has a great directory of certified upcycled products.