Christmas is coming and with it comes the group meals and the desire to enjoy big meals in good company. Year after year, food ends up leftover in households and much of it ends up in the garbage when it could be avoided. Therefore, in this article we want to give you some ideas to avoid wasting food this Christmas and in the coming holidays.
Some facts about the situation:
Globally, an estimated 931 million tons of food went to waste in households, restaurants and retailers in 2019, equivalent to 17% of the total food available to consumers.
In 2021 in Spain, 1.2 million tons of food were discarded at Christmas. Of the total food waste, 42% occurred in households, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment.
In 86% of households, leftover food is thrown away, 64% of which are products that have deteriorated because they were not properly preserved when purchased.
AVOID WASTING FOOD AT CHRISTMAS WITH THESE TIPS:
1. Organizing and planning
Whether you are cooking new or familiar dishes, it is important to spend some time planning. Detail and list the dishes, count how many diners you are, and the portions for each person. Take into account the number of dishes and if there is a previous snack since it will not be like a regular meal, it is not necessary to cook such large portions. Also, remember that the amounts for adults will differ from those for children. Calculating what amount of food is necessary is a way of not wasting food and avoiding excesses.
2. Make a shopping list
Once you have the menus, create the shopping list thinking strictly about what you need to prepare and/or cook the dishes you have thought of. In this way, you will buy only what you need and avoid overbuying, thus preventing food from ending up in the garbage. This is important for all ingredients, but especially for fresh produce.
3. Good food preservation
Once you have done the shopping, think about how to store each and every one of the foods. It is important that you store the food that needs it in the correct containers and that you store fruits and vegetables in the part of the refrigerator intended for this purpose. Fresh produce and cold cuts in airtight glass containers, even if you buy meat, fish, or seafood in advance, you can freeze them. Remember to note the freezing date on the package! Proper food preservation is the way to avoid wasting food.
4. Avoid buying more of what you don’t like
Many times at Christmas we are encouraged to prepare recipes that we have never cooked before. Sometimes these recipes have some ingredient that we do not like too much or that is not usually consumed at home. Therefore, our advice is to avoid buying too many of those products that you do not like. Ask for the size you need and you will avoid leftovers. It is the same with typical Christmas products, which we seem to be obliged to buy. Before doing so, ask yourself if someone is really going to consume them.
5. Preparing other dishes with leftovers
Making use of leftover food and reinventing Christmas leftovers by making new recipes is very easy now that we have the possibility of consulting many ideas on the Internet. Cannelloni, lasagna, croquettes, stuffed pasta, savory pies, puddings, moussaka, purees… With ripe fruits, you can make jams, pastries, ice cream, compotes, dressings, and smoothies. Before throwing food away, we invite you to look for ideas to make the most of it and not waste food.
If you have prepared the menus, made the shopping list, and adjusted the portions and there is still food left over, it can be frozen and used at a later date. If done correctly, in a container, bags, or other methods that are airtight, it can be a method of preservation that allows us to greatly extend the time of consumption of food without losing all the properties and nutritional value. For example, freezing in individual portions allows you to take out only the amount you need, depending on the number of guests.
7. Share the food
If there are guests at dinners and lunches, an idea to avoid wasting food is to distribute it among all the attendees. Among all the people who are at the meal, you can distribute the food that is already cooked and consume it the following days. In addition, during Christmas, there are solidarity initiatives to donate food. Before throwing food away, think about the people who need it. Inform yourself and consider the possibility of making a solidarity action by sharing the food with those who need it most.
8. If you are going to eat out, don’t be shy
In case you celebrate Christmas away from home, such as in a restaurant, if you do not finish the food you ordered, this dish can be consumed in the following days. We recommend that you do not hesitate to ask for take-out. Restaurants have containers already provided for diners to take away everything they have not been able to enjoy in the restaurant.