How to limit your food waste over the holidays

The festive season is a time to celebrate with family and friends, often with a fantastic feast, but these special occasions can also lead to a lot of wasted food.

We are passionate about reducing food waste in Brisbane, and are currently funding three vans used by OzHarvest to collect quality unused food from Brisbane businesses and give it to local people in need. It's a win-win, with more full bellies, more smiles, and less food waste in landfill.

If you want to feel good about reducing food waste, try our top tips to avoid throwing away food at Christmas. These simple steps can make a big difference to protect our environment while still enjoying plenty of holiday cheer.

Make a list and check it twice

When you're faced with enticing food displays at every turn in the supermarket, it can be hard to resist the temptation to load up your trolley with tasty treats. It can also make it very easy to buy a lot more than you need, "just in case".

Buying just enough to feed your guests is one of the easiest ways to prevent food waste over Christmas, and you can still have a mouth-watering feast without over-catering.

Before heading to the shops, plan your meals based on how many people will be coming for lunch or dinner and use this to write a shopping list. While you're planning, think about whether any foods were left untouched last Christmas and consider leaving these off your list this year.

If everyone will be bringing a plate, organise what each person will bring ahead of time so you don't end up with one too many bowls of potato salad.

Keep things frosty

While you're shopping, check the use-by dates of any products you're picking up to make sure they will still be fresh when you plan to eat them. Keep a close eye on your fruits and vegetables once you get them home and store whatever you can in the fridge, as produce can ripen quickly in the summer heat. Follow our storage hints to get the best out of everything in your fridge and freezer.

Once your Christmas meal is over and done with, don't let any leftovers go to waste by storing them incorrectly. Use airtight containers to keep things fresh and place any food you're unlikely to eat over the following days into the freezer, making a mental note to enjoy it later.

To avoid losing your yummy leftovers in the back of the fridge, put an 'eat me first' container front and centre. It's a good way to remember you've got enough cheese and dip left for many happy hours to come before it all goes bad.

Keep the good times (and food) rolling

Leftovers can help you and your family get through those days between Christmas and New Year. If you don't have enough of any one thing to make a meal to serve everyone, get creative with the little bits of what you have on hand and each have a different plate!

For those looking to keep things low key, there are plenty of options for using up popular Christmas foods without much effort. Christmas ham makes a great breakfast or brunch option, as it can easily be added to omelettes or baked into bread and is surprisingly delicious on buttered toast.

Leftover prawns can be tossed into salads for a tasty new combination and turkey is the perfect filler for a gourmet sandwich with leftover soft cheese and crusty bread. There are also plenty of options for using up leftover chicken, like adding it to delicious Christmas leftover pasties.

Once you've finished your leftovers

After enjoying a fantastic Christmas full of tantalising leftovers and no wasted food, think about how you can continue to love food and hate waste next year! Visit Love Food Hate Waste for helpful hints and tricks or sign up to join the challenge.

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Date posted:
Last updated:29 November 2019
Topics: green