Help Protect Our Environment: Tips to Curb Holiday Food Waste

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City of Ventura Environmental Specialist Tobie Mitchell offers some additional fantastic Food Waste Prevention tips in this Sustainable Ventura News Video

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The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) estimates more than 40 percent of groceries  ($165 billion dollars worth of food!) gets thrown away every year in the United States.  During the November and December holidays, there’s also three times as more food waste than at other times during the year.

This food waste is a shame for many reasons, first, while food is abundant in the United States, it is obviously wasted while ironically, many households struggle to put food on the table.  Secondly, it takes a lot of energy and water to grow the food we waste, not to mention the greenhouse gas emissions it takes to transport and deliver the food that is wasted.  Just think of how, by reducing food waste, we could collectively help conserve our precious natural resources, prevent pollution and contribute to the sustainability of our communities!

This Thanksgiving, let’s all give thanks for the blessings — and the food — we enjoy.  Here are some simple tips to prevent food waste.

•How much food should you prepare for your holiday dinner?

Use a portion calculator to find out how much to cook for your guests, CLICK HERE for Food Portion Calculator

A portion calculator is a great tool for the holidays, or for anytime of the year you’re preparing a meal for visiting family and guests or a party or gathering.

•Shop your cupboards and fridge before heading to the store/use a list

Take inventory of what you have at home so you’ll know what you need and in what quantities.  This will help contribute to not only cutting down on food waste, but on over-buying which in turn will help you save money!

•Create a shopping list

Always bring a shopping list of what you’ll need to the store with you.  This will curb impulse buying, and you won’t need to remember what to buy.  When you create a shopping list in advance, you can also take advantage of coupons and holiday sales.

•Encourage self serve

Instead of “serving” up loaded plates at the holidays, encourage guests to take what they feel they want and/or will be able to eat.

•Find creative ways to reuse leftovers

Tired of turkey sandwiches made with leftovers after Thanksgiving?  Perhaps used diced turkey to make a turkey salad or what about turkey fajitas? Get creative and Google turkey recipes ideas.  If you have leftover potatoes and veggies, think about making a soup or a great soup stock.  Watch the Sustainable Ventura News video below to find out more!

•Donate excess

Food banks and shelters gladly welcome donations of canned and dried foods, especially during the holiday season and colder months.  In Ventura County, reach out to Food Share in Oxnard, www.foodshare.com

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