COLUMN: Planning, storing helps cut food waste

Every year we read about how to eat wisely, diet after, but rarely do we get advice about how to reduce beforehand.

Christmas is looming, the annual lunches and dinners, the gift chocolates, the fancy breads, the family visits, the parties with appetisers, cookies, fancy desserts.

Every year we read about how to eat wisely, diet after, but rarely do we get advice about how to reduce beforehand the colossal waste of food and related energy costs.

According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture organization roughly one-third of all food produced for human consumption – about 1.3 billion tonnes – is lost or wasted each year.

About two-thirds of all that food waste could have been eaten if consumers better planned and stored their food purchases.

Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project has provided a list of ten ways to reduce food waste.

One – Plan how much food you will need for special events and don’t cook extra unless you have plans for the leftovers.

Years ago, I challenged my Girl Guide group to plan their weekend camp food to have just enough and bring nothing back. I’ll never forget the look of triumph on the face of one camper who calculated so exactly that she was eating the last piece of bagel and reconstituted hummus as the ferry docked at Newcastle Island. See the portion planner at www.lovefoodhatewaste.com/perfect_portions for instant help.

Two – make your shopping list and stick to it. Plan your route around supermarket walls avoiding the unnecessary temptations in the middle.

Three – go small. Use smaller serving utensils and plates. Guests can always come back for seconds. This was one of our strategies for our children’s portions, so that they would not be faced with piles of food but could always have more.

Four – let guests serve themselves. Most will take frugal portions.

Five – take the time to store leftovers safely. Have the containers on hand for useful-sized amounts to go in the fridge or the freezer. Properly storing our leftovers will preserve them safely for future meals.

Six – composting food scraps has never been easier unless you already use your scraps for your own garden. Use the local composting waste systems and save compostable scraps for the green bin.

Seven – get creative with leftovers. Plan around the leftover bread and turkey and make tasty soups.

Eight – give away extra canned or dry or unserved fresh foods.

Nine – support food-recovery programs if you can. Nanaimo Foodshare is discussing food recovery opportunities with other agencies and could probably use some volunteer help to get rolling.

Second Harvest in Toronto has prevented more than 70 million pounds of food from ending up in landfill since its inception in 1985.

Ten – when giving food as a gift, avoid highly perishable items and make an effort to select foods that you know the recipient will enjoy rather than waste. Buy local treats and fair trade items that keep well and provide little luxuries that will be enjoyed.

Marjorie Stewart is board chairwoman of the Foodshare Society and president of the multi-stakeholder co-op, Heritage Foodservice. She can be reached at: marjorieandalstewart@shaw.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

City of Nanaimo to hold invasive plant ‘drop zone’ event

Public invited to bring invasive plants to Bowen Park’s upper picnic shelter Saturday, May 30

International students ‘biggest unknown’ in Nanaimo school district’s budget planning

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ board will look at preliminary 2020-21 budget this week

Car cruise in Nanaimo lifts seniors’ spirits during pandemic

Cars 4 COVID includes Nanaimo Seniors Village in its route

Health authority extends administrator’s mandate at Nanaimo seniors home

Island Health says ‘significant progress’ being made at Nanaimo Seniors Village

Petition underway to get RDN to improve Sandpiper water quality

Campaign urges regional district to make issue a priority

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Cullen commission into money laundering in British Columbia resumes today

Inquiry was called amid growing concern that illegal cash was helping fuel real estate, luxury car and gambling

Family pledges to match up to $50,000 in donations to Chemainus Theatre fund

Donald Hilton and Joyce Hilton helping theatre through a time of COVID-19 cancellations

Nanaimo school district planning to demolish building on Selby Street

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools estimates tearing down building will cost $900,000

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

VIU online cooking show keeping students connected during COVID-19 pandemic

‘Culture Kitchen’ features students making dishes from their home countries

Rail foundation delivers donations to Island food banks

ICF shares $14,000 among seven food banks, including Nanaimo’s Loaves and Fishes

Most Read