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Feast and Savour Every Mouthful Without Waste!

1 December 2023 | By Stéphanie Tremblay
Food fightRecipesReductionTips and tricks

The holiday season is a time for helping others, a time when we are called upon to be generous. Paradoxically, it’s also one of the most food-wasteful times of the year, since it’s synonymous with gatherings where an abundance of food is seemingly a must. This holiday season is an excellent opportunity to take action to reduce food waste.

Let’s take a look at a few simple, practical anti-waste tips to help you get the most out of food waste, without sacrificing the joy of sharing a delicious meal with friends and family!


Resist the fear of running out!

Whether you’re cooking from scratch or hiring a caterer, there are several things to keep in mind when deciding on a menu.

First of all, it makes sense to determine quantities according to the expected number of guests… And yet, no one is immune to the notorious “fear of running out”, which can strike even the most seasoned hosts!

Once we’ve calculated reasonable quantities of food for the number of guests we’re expecting, there are a few things we can do to ease the fear that our guests will go home hungry. For example, there are a few options for frozen bites, which defrost quickly and can be sent straight to the oven. It’s an excellent lifeline in the event that your spread runs out too quickly for your liking. We can think of ready-to-bake baguettes, meat pies or quiches that are waiting patiently in the freezer. What’s more, if they don’t turn out to be necessary in the end, these foods can be used as quick meals on a busy weeknight (which will undoubtedly happen) after the holidays.


Opt for foods that keep well

When choosing the meals or snacks to be served, try to limit highly perishable meals, which are likely to go straight into the garbage can after spending some time on the table. These include pasta and potato salads containing eggs and mayonnaise, and raw fish and meats such as sushi and tartar. Instead, we opt for longer-lasting options, such as vegetarian/vegan meals or fully cooked foods.

Be proactive while hosting

The order in which dishes are served is more important than you might think in reducing food waste. For example, if bread and cheese are the first items on the table, chances are our hungry guests will gorge themselves on them, leaving little room for the turkey to come. Instead, try skipping the starter if the meal is large enough, or choose a light starter to minimize waste. If you’re planning a bite-sized meal, it might be a good idea to take out the items that don’t keep as well first, since people have a bigger appetite for the first course.

It’s also essential to limit the amount of time food spends at room temperature, especially in the case of a buffet. A clever trick might be to set an alarm an hour after taking the food out, to remind guests that it’s time for a refill, if they’re hungry, before the perishables go back into the fridge.


Outsmarting guests whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs

The main meal is now tucked away in the fridge, and your guests are left with full bellies. Why not give them a little respite, while they continue their exciting discussions, before treating them to your famous Yule log? In an effort to limit the number of plates of half-nibbled cake, you can allow fifteen minutes to pass before serving dessert, so their satiation can kick in.

Not knowing how many of your guests will be tempted by dessert, it’s also a good idea to plan individual, frozen portions (or those that freeze well afterwards), so that only the necessary portions are brought out for those who still have a little room for a sweet treat.

Finally, you can even ask guests to bring a reusable container to divide up the leftovers after the party and avoid getting sick of the never-ending leftover Christmas turkey and its 1001 variations!

And if there are any leftovers…don’t forget to bring them to the community fridges near you – Christmas is all about sharing, after all… 🙂

Happy Holidays!

Food Waste Expert

Stéphanie Tremblay

In love with nature, Stéphanie combines her interests in the environment and food in order to raise awareness of the importance of their food choices. Her professional training and experience in environmental education make her a knowledgeable speaker who conveys her passion with enthusiasm and positivism. In her spare time, she can be found in her garden or in the forest, gathering wild edible plants.

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