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 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:

Just Posted

A conceptual rendering of a commercial plaza at 1130 Rocky Creek Road. (Town of Ladysmith image)
Commercial plaza in north end of Ladysmith passes public hearing

Councillors debate proposed land use at 1130 Rocky Creek Rd.

The Nanaimo sign at Maffeo Sutton Park could be hazardous for children, says letter writer. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Nanaimo sign will cause falls

Children can’t resist climbing on sign, says letter writer

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomy by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Nanaimo rapper Sirreal plays the Port Theatre on June 25. (Photo courtesy Alanna Morton)
Nanaimo rapper Sirreal and friends play the Port Theatre

Live-streamed concert the second in venue’s Discovery Series highlighting local artists

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above seasonal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement, stating that Nanaimo will see temperatures between five-10 degrees above normal the next two days. (News Bulletin file)
Heat wave will see Nanaimo temperatures rise 5-10 degrees above normal

Sun with highs of 28 C forecast by Environment Canada for Harbour City on Sunday and Monday

Robin Dutton, left, and Peter Sinclair are taking their mountain bikes and travelling down trails in the Mount Benson area June 19 as part of a 24-hour fundraiser benefiting Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Full-day mountain bike fundraiser gives financial support for Nanaimo food bank

Event part of Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank’s Food 4 Summer campaign

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding partnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

Most Read