Regardless if you celebrate thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Diwali or Chinese new year - the holidays constitute a time of coming together with sharing the food that we all love. With the Covid-19 restrictions, these gatherings are limited to a single household, or moved online. As our everyday life has become more and more tied to our homes, let's use this adaptation wisely in creating holiday festivities that are pleasurable for both ourselves and our planet. A shocking amount of food is wasted during these times; only during thanksgiving alone in the US, 293 million dollars worth of food is wasted. It's easy to get overwhelmed by these numbers, but fear not - I’m here to give you a simple guide on how to reduce your food waste during the holidays.
Plan ahead & plan responsibly!
The holidays are exciting, I myself am a big Christmas enthusiast. As the snow starts falling and Christmas music seems to be following you into every single grocery store and corner shop, it's easy to get carried away when planning your holiday celebration, especially in covid times as it's one of the few things we have to look forward to. Despite this, try planning in a reasonable way. A family of four, or you and your two roommates do not have to make food to feed an entire army. Focus on quality over quantity. Try also to stay away from the single use plastic items and serving containers. I know that cleaning up after a dinner is no fun, but that’s the perk of smaller gatherings, less dishes! ; )
Add your own spin to it.
Use the holidays to get creative, travel to places you want to go or revisit your home country through creating holiday dishes inspired by them! This will both be a fun spin on your festivities as well as a good way to take pressure off food systems through not supporting mass production of ingredients like cranberries and turkey.
I know you’ve probably heard this about a gazillion times, but it doesn't stop me from saying it again and again. Compost, compost, compost. Throwing your potato peel, veggies and fruit scraps in the regular garbage bin lead to them ending up in landfills where they eventually rot contribute to substantial amounts of methane gas being released into the atmosphere, accelerating the global warming process. Therefore, using a well maintained compost-container to throw away your food scraps is a very simple way to make your holidays greener! Don't have a brown container bin and live in Montreal? Call 3-1-1 to request one.
Love your leftovers.
Your leftovers are your friends. The possibilities of giving them new life are endless. Make salads, pies or soups using your turkey leftovers. Transform your leftover mashed potatoes into patties, pancakes or even alternative hash browns. Instead of throwing away your meat and veggie scraps, freeze them and use them to create a homemade stock for other delicious meals. I will link a website below with recipes to inspire you to get creative with your leftovers! Don't forget to store your leftovers in the freezer instead of the fridge to extend their lifetime and give yourself a break after several executive days of feasting on thanksgiving food. Lastly, if you don’t feel like eating your leftovers, bring them to someone you care about instead of throwing them away.
I hope that you will find these tips useful and that you get to enjoy the holidays with the people you love. Stay safe and happy holidays!