New Years and Holiday Food Waste The Green Way To Reduce Your Waste and Lose Weight
Posted Dec 27 2009 4:21am
‘Tis the season of gaining weight. Face the facts; it is all that delicious holiday food we gorge ourselves on. Gratefully, there’s only one last holiday weekend to eat our way through: New Year’s Eve.
The easiest way to avoid fattening up is to avoid preparing the fanny-fattening foods. Granted, it is difficult to avoid when someone else prepares the food and every holiday party we attend is focused on increasingly large amounts of fats, sugars and salts. If you have control over the menu, make the choice to consume less and prepare healthier choices like preparing raw foods as appetizers. My suggestion is to remember this mantra, please repeat after me - - “all things in moderation”.
There’s another reason to consider preparing less. What happens to all that food at the end of the holiday party? By throwing it out we are saying that all the energy that was consumed to fly, train, and drive our grocery products from all over the world is wasted. That is simply glut!
Almost half the food in the US, approximately 100 billion pounds a year, goes to waste, making leftover food the second largest component of the US waste stream by weight. With food waste losses accounting for about $100 billion per year—$30 to 40 billion occurring within the commercial or retail sector—consumers and food service providers simply cannot afford to sidestep environmentally sound surplus food management. If we use the adage “all things in moderation” then we will reduce our waists and our wastes.
According to Tim Jones, a University of Arizona anthropologist who has studied food waste for 15 years, reducing holiday food waste helps both the environment and your wallet. During the holidays alone, the average household of four could save $100 to $150 by reducing food waste, Jones offers these tips:
If possible, distribute leftovers to guests to take home, based on what they like. Leftovers will more likely get eaten that way.
Freezing increases the probability that leftovers will not go to waste, since they keep so much longer. For instance, you can freeze a slice of baked fruit pie for up to eight months.
Before giving cookies or candy as gifts or treats, make sure the recipients want them.
To battle that holiday bulge and reduce waste at the same time, consider buying less stocking stuffer candy. Jones' research shows that 20 percent of all candy gets tossed out uneaten.
Consider donating food you do not use. Local food banks appreciate many canned items, including juices, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Some accept prepared foods. Check your local listings.
Remember, it is not just commercial or retail groups that are wasting - individual consumers must assume responsibility for reducing food waste. Avoid excess waste in the first place by buying only what will be eaten. Start a backyard compost bin with your food preparation scraps and fall leaves. Before you throw away leftover cranberry sauce or potatoes that you did not eat, think of places that may be able to use those items (a poor family locally with a houseful of teens for example).
Finally, I would like to give you one last waist/waste reducing tip: exercise aerobically, preferably outdoors, for at least 20 minutes every day. During the non-gardening winter season I walk, walk, walk. When it is too icy to walk outside, I use a treadmill. It is essential to keep your energy level strong because it is an easy way to keep the waist down and your mood up.
If you want to keep the waste down after eating a heavy dinner, take a walk to a composter and compost as much of that food as you can instead of throwing it in a landfill. It is good for you and it’s good for the environment!