Your Guide to Wasting Less Food this Holiday Season

Did you know? 

As the holiday season approaches, our mouths are already watering thinking about the delicious food that will adorn our dinner tables. However, we all know that this year will be a little different as we work together to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Changing our menus and traditions might mean that we change the food we eat and how much we prepare, which will likely mean more leftovers than usual.

Continue reading for tips on how to waste less food and prepare to have a sustainable holiday season!

1. Purchase Seasonal Ingredients

Rethink your connection to the holiday and create a menu inspired by your heritage using seasonal ingredients. “That is the point of a ceremony…to spend time with your food and remember you are human” – Valerie Segrest, Regional Director of Native Food and Knowledge Systems. When we remember to appreciate and value food and our land, it is harder to waste it. 

Pick Tennessee Products is a great resource to learn which foods are in season in our area. You can also find farmers and markets that are currently selling these locally grown products.

2. Use the Guest-imator

Make the right amount of food! Our holiday gatherings may be smaller this year, so be sure to plan accordingly. Save the Food created an awesome tool to help you set your menu, plan servings, and make a shopping list: www.savethefood.com/guestimator

3. Save the Scraps

Save food scraps like onion peels and bones to make stock or other meals. Here is a blog about some great scrappy recipes!

4. Plan Your Leftover Meals

Some would say that leftovers are the best part of holiday meals! In fact, uneaten leftovers make up 13% of Nashville’s residential food waste. Plan ahead so you remember to use your leftovers wisely. There are many great recipes you can create with leftovers including casserole, pizza, or empanadas! Click for a few more holiday leftover recipes.

5. Freeze Extras

It’s hard to admit, but after a few days of eating turkey (or tofurkey) and mashed potatoes, you may start craving something new. Did you know that you can freeze most of your leftovers? Freezing food is like pushing the pause button on freshness. Click to learn how to properly freeze your food!

Pro tip: Use an expo marker to write the date on your containers!

6. Compost Inedible Scraps

Compost any inedible waste at home, drop it off for free at any Metro Convenience Center, or sign up for home compost service. 32% of residential waste in Nashville is organic, but only 2% of our residential waste is being composted.

Nashville is incredibly lucky to have an industrial composter which allows us to compost any organic waste. From paper towels to turkey carcasses our industrial composter can turn all of this waste into rich soil used by farmers across the region, which also prevents the need for dangerous pesticides.

By preventing food waste from entering the landfill, you are doing your part to combat climate change!

Learn more about date labels, proper storage, scrap recipes, and the art of freezing at SaveTheFood.com

Check out the Nashville Food Waste Initiative to see how Urban Green Lab is tackling food waste. 

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