It’s officially mid-October which means the holiday season is about to hit full force. Holidays bring so much! It’s when we reconnect with friends, see lots of family again after some time, we go back home, we have time to reflect and of course enjoy your favourite dishes.
I’m sure we all have the jitters of excitement about the events are to come and what to prepare (I know I do). It’s important to be aware of how the holiday season is a huge money machine for thousands of companies. These companies know that the public are looking to buy new items for décor, costumes, gifts, etc. It can be so easy to become overwhelmed with the amount of advertisements and sales that come on at this time of year. This is how we often fall to overconsumption. Make sure to try to be more aware of what you are buying and how necessary it may be these next few months.
Canadians are among the largest wasters of food in North America
Overconsumption is not just an issue with objects or clothing items, but food waste becomes a huge problem this time of year. With every holiday there’s always food and drinks around! Bonding over a good meal is one of the best parts of the holidays. Unfortunately, with last minute parties popping up, or lack of planning, we can get swept up while shopping and buy way more food than we need and end up throwing the rest out. According to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), Canadians are among the largest wasters of food in North America, with approximately 873 pounds wasted per capita per annum.
Here's tips to help you have a low food waste holiday season:
- Before going to a dinner party or celebration where you know you’ll need to bring a dish, be informed. Ask ahead before the gathering to find out what other people are bringing. This way you can avoid bringing repeats of the same dish, which means more variety of food and less going untouched! Also, inquire about how many people will be there. Will there be lots of children? Is it mostly adults. These questions will help you choose how much to bring and exactly what.
- Before you shop for your dish, make sure you check your fridge/freezer/pantry. You never want to be buying ingredients you already have! A good thorough check of your kitchen is a great way to start your shopping day. We can often be in the aisle of the grocery store thinking, “Oh wait, I don’t have garlic.” Meanwhile there’s some fresh garlic at home tucked away that we completely missed!
- When you’ve gotten to the event, when preparing your plate (and others) try to not overserve. During the holidays the food often looks (and tastes!) so good that we can easily overload our plate, and when we get full, we toss the leftovers as they’ve already been soiled. However, when we serve consciously, most of the food is now staying in the pots/pans/dishes and are more easily able to be stored/refrigerated for later. Plus, when you clean that first plate, there can always be seconds!
- Stick to your list! Have a game plan when you go grocery shopping. Have your list ready to go, so you’re not swayed by holiday sales or peering into other customer’s cart’s and getting swayed. The last thing you want are ingredients in your home that go spoiled from never using them.
- Finally make sure that what doesn’t get eaten goes to good use. Food that’s been cooked and put out? Sounds like some amazing leftovers. Overflowing in them? Give some to your neighbours! It’ll be a great way to share the holiday spirit. Whenever you can, compost rather than throw out! It makes a huge difference. Also, see what Food Banks are in your area, and what leftover foods/ingredients you may be able to donate. Consider bringing your kids to drop off the food with you, it’s a great lesson about the importance of community and what the holidays are really about.
And that’s all! I’m sure you’ll all be off to a great start with being conscious with your food consumption this holiday season.