How do you minimize food waste over the holidays?

Alison Springate Guelph Smart City Office • 8 December 2020

Although Yuletide festivities may look a little different this year for many of us, food will inevitably still play a central role in how we celebrate the holidays – as it has for centuries. Lore has it that the traditional Christmas turkey with stuffing was first introduced in England in the 16th century. For those of Jewish faith, Chanukah has typically included brisket or latkes also as far back as the 1700s.

Regardless of how we observe the holidays, a big meal (or two or three) is usually in the equation. And with food comes the potential for waste, as we know. In fact, according to Zero Waste Canada, household waste can increase more than 25 per cent in the holiday season.

This month, in partnership with Love Food Hate Waste, Our Food Future will be sharing some useful tips and ideas to help families look at their Christmas meal traditions a little differently, and make the most of the holiday foods we buy. They’ve got some fantastic suggestions: for example, who’d have thought of making “stuffing muffins” with leftover stuffing, or folding uneaten veggies such as squash or zucchini into pancakes? Brilliant – and no-one says you have to tell the kids.

How does your family reimagine the food you find is still hanging around after the main feast is over? What are the creative methods that you employ to use every last bit of the turkey or roast beef? We would love to hear about those holiday traditions and share your ideas with others. Head on over to Our Food Future's Kitchen Table to tell us all about it.

As the holidays come closer, we encourage families to have a discussion about food. How about making a household pledge to use as much of the holiday food as possible? Sometimes just making the commitment out loud to one another makes a big difference in our behavior.

And, as we consider our gift choices this season, we also encourage our community to support people who may not have enough to eat. The pandemic has increased food insecurity across Canada including Guelph and Wellington County. If you are able, consider giving a gift of a donation to a food security agency to a friend, family member or teacher. One option is the Harve$t Impact Fund. Our Food Future is matching one-to-one the first $90,000 in individual cash donations raised. There is truly no better time to give.