5 Food Waste Tips for the Holidays

Food waste during the holidays can be a big problem. Luckily, there’s plenty we can do to reduce food waste at home.

Between holiday parties, family obligations and the pressure of finding that perfect gift — this time of year can certainly go by in a flash. Amid the bustle of the holiday season, planning a family gathering can already be hard enough. The last thing we need to worry about is all the holiday leftovers. But, unfortunately, food waste this time of year can be a big problem.

Luckily, there’s plenty we can do to reduce food waste at home — especially during the holidays. Here are five tips that may help you focus even more on caring and celebration this season, and could even reduce the strain on our personal budgets and the environment.

  • Rethink your shopping list. If you’re not hosting guests this year, buy what you need to feed your family and match their tastes. For example, if they cannot stand cranberry sauce — skip it. They like ice cream more than pumpkin pie? Swap it out. Your holiday dinner will still be perfect without those “traditional” foods. And you can avoid overbuying and overspending by shopping for what you’ll want to eat.

  • Take ‘um home. Provide or ask guests to bring reusable containers to pack up leftovers. Instead of loading them up with a little bit of everything, ask them what they enjoyed eating and let them pick. That way, you can avoid those leftovers reaching someone else’s rubbish.

  • Compost. You can compost many ingredients of your holiday meal. Fruits, vegetables, eggshells and coffee grounds make great compost. You can compost safely at home in your backyard or in an indoor compost bin.

Holiday Meal Boxes

The Holiday Season is right around the corner and this year Northern Illinois Food Bank plans to distribute 60,000 Holiday Meal boxes to neighbors to ensure they are able to thrive and celebrate this year. 

We began packing boxes the last week of September and will continue through the first week of December. Each box weighs 11.5 pounds and includes: 7 cocoa packets, bag of rice, cranberry sauce, brownie mix, turkey gravy, diced pears, stuffing mix, bag of pinto beans, 2 cans of whole kernel corn, and 2 cans of green beans. A turkey or ham and a bag of potatoes will be included with the box.

There are a few opportunities to help with our Holiday Meal Box Program. You can make a donation or volunteer at our Geneva location to help pack boxes for our neighbors.