Food Waste Solutions for the Holidays
Did you know forty percent of all food produced in America is discarded, and 20 percent of all food bought is never eaten? In addition, between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, three times as much food is wasted as at other times of the year! The effects of food waste are staggering. On the economy, it equates to about $218 billion of food lost each year. On the environment, food waste is the number one component found in America’s landfills. For American families, each of us tosses approximately 300 pounds of food a year adding up to as much as $2,200 worth of uneaten food that a family of four throws away.
Frozen Foods to the Rescue
Our No Taste for Food Waste video shows how frozen foods can help solve the food waste problem and save the average family money. (See our Infographic for more.) Today’s frozen foods provide convenience, quality, innovative tastes and easier food preparation. That’s because:
- You are paying for 100 percent edible food.
- Freezing technology and eco-friendly packaging are keeping frozen foods fresher longer.
- There is no spoilage – use only what you need and put the rest back in the freezer.
- Frozen foods are perfectly portioned so there’s no waste.
- Frozen fruits and vegetables are consistently priced and always in season.
- Foods stored in the freezer have a longer shelf life which equals less food waste.
Tips for Reducing Food Waste over the Holidays
- Be realistic: 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 shop accordingly.
- Plan ahead: Plan your menu and create a shopping list before going to the grocery store. This helps avoid impulse buys or buying unnecessary quantities that may not be used right away and go to waste.
- Know portion sizes: If turkey is on your menu, allow 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person from an 8- to 12-pound turkey. Larger birds have a larger proportion of meat to bones, so ¾ pound per person should be sufficient (and you will have leftovers).
- Plan for leftovers: Cook creatively and repurpose food into other meals for less waste after the holiday.
Check out these recipes to help you give your leftovers a second life:
- This Easy Leftover Turkey Pot Pie is a breeze to make and full of flavor.
- Everyone’s favorite side dish becomes personal-sized in this Green Bean Casserole Crescent Cups.
- Blend up that last piece of pie for a delicious Pumpkin Pie Milkshake.
- Use your leftover cranberry sauce for an elegant two-layer Cranberry Cream Cheese Mold for a dessert that will impress.
- Try our Freezer Clean-Out Meatball Veggie Casserole to use up those partial bags of frozen veggies.
- Creamy Ham Casserole is comfort food at its best and couldn’t be easier to throw together, even on a busy weeknight.
- Spice up any holiday morning with a tasty Hash Brown Breakfast Bake.
- A little horseradish zips up your turkey leftovers in this Cranberry ‘N Cheese Grill.
During this holiday season, try to be more conscious about what you’re buying, cooking and eating. If we all make mindful decisions to reduce food waste, it can have a significant impact on our environment for the future.
What are your favorite recipes and hacks for using up holiday leftovers and reducing food waste? Share with us on social media @EasyHomeMeals.
Sources: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Defense Council, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Worldwatch Institute