Practical Tips for Reducing Food Waste During the Holiday Season

Summer holidays are a time of giving, whānau, and food ­­­– lots of food! All this food has its downsides of course – increased food bills and waste, for example. In Aotearoa, it is estimated that food waste doubles in December, so here are our top tips to ensure you enjoy all that delicious holiday season fare without the guilt.

Be a planner

Last-minute panicked trips to the supermarket are a sure way to increase your food bill and waste. Whipping around the food aisles piling random food items into your trolley, worrying about needing extra items to cater for unexpected guests or being lured into multi buys can quickly add up.

To avoid this, sit down with a cuppa, pen and paper and plan out what meals you need for over the summer holidays, and which ingredients you will need for these. Hopefully, by now, you know where you will be celebrating seasonal festivities and if you are visiting family what you are expected to bring, and how many people you are providing for.

Keep it simple

You don’t need to provide a ten-course meal to make it a celebration, just focus on the family favourites that everyone likes. Think about past successes and failures – does that ham on the bone you buy every year end up going to waste or do you make it last a week and use up every scrap? Is kai moana more appreciated in your household than the turkey you insist on cooking every year because “It’s tradition”?

Whatever you choose, keep it simple, have one type of meat or seafood and then ensure there is something for the vegetarian/vegans as well.

Shop like a winner

Now you have planned out your meals and what you are cooking, make sure you have some idea of what you can do with leftovers. Do you have flour and yeast (or pre-made pizza bases) to make ham and pineapple pizza, for example? Do you have extra cream, marshmallows and frozen berries so you can make Eton mess with leftover pavlova? 

Secrets of a storage professional

It is a good idea to know how summer foods should be stored, so you have room to keep them at their best.

For cherries and melons, once ripe, store them in the fridge. If you’re looking to make avocados last longer, ripen them at room temperature then move to the fridge to extend their life.

For more storage tips head to www.lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz and discover ways to make that delicious summer produce last as long as possible.

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If you are hosting seasonal celebrations for your family, make little care parcels out of leftovers or uneaten food and send your guests on their way with these so that they don’t need to cook on Boxing Day either.

Refrigerate and freeze

On the day make sure you put the food out on the table just before everyone is ready to eat. Once everyone has had enough, put it back in the fridge as quickly as possible to have the next day as leftovers or get it ready for the freezer if you are about to head straight off on holiday. 

The fresher the food is when it goes into the freezer, the fresher it will be when it comes out – so get your food into the freezer as soon as possible, rather than letting it languish in the fridge for a couple of days first.


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