Food Waste

Tips for Reducing Your Food Waste This Thanksgiving

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday

#WhyWasteFoodWednesday is a call to action to take those almost-in-the-trash food items and turn them into delicious meals!

At least 1.3 billion tons of food is lost or wasted every year around the world—in fields, during transport, in storage, at restaurants, and in our homes! If each individual made a call to action to stop their own food waste–the planet benefits, we have less hunger, and your own grocery bills will go down through the savings.

UN Food & Agricultural

How to Reduce Food Waste at Thanksgiving Dinner

Food waste is a year-round concern, and the large Thanksgiving meal can present a challenge. You’re buying many more ingredients, and you’re making large-scale recipes with lots of potential leftovers. You may be preoccupied with the business of the holiday season, so keeping your food waste in mind can become a small concern. But there are easy ways to reduce food waste and, therefore your environmental impact, even around the holidays. Here are a few tips geared toward Thanksgiving dinner.

Plan How Much Food to Make

Until you know how many people you’re cooking for, you’ll be unable to plan portions accurately. Press for answers and get people to commit. Not only will this ensure you’re not overcooking, it will also benefit party planning in general.

Make an Entire Thanksgiving with Fewer Ingredients 

The variety of dishes is a key part of Thanksgiving dinners. Part of the problem is that it can mean separate lists of ingredients for every recipe. But it’s ok if there’s some overlap between your courses; it’s smart, thrifty, and eco-friendly, because it means less packaging and less of a chance that you’re going to have lots of half-used bottles and cans hanging around your fridge or pantry waiting to go bad. Even better, synchronizing ingredients and flavors can make your meal seem like a well-thought-out package and make you look like a genius menu planner. 

Use Every Ingredient Wisely

After you’ve shopped and before you reach the leftovers phase, there are ways to make smart use of the extra bits of various ingredients. A great read is a piece by Food editor Joe Yonan’s; “root-to-leaf and seed-to-stem cooking.” He shows you how to use the more expected seeds and the less expected peels of butternut squash for a crispy garnish that would work on any soup or salad. When you have peels left from an apple pie, toss them with cinnamon, sugar, and lemon juice and then bake them to make crisps. At the very least, hang on to scraps for vegetable broth. Freeze the scraps, or make the broth and then freeze that.

The same line of thought applies to whatever meat you may be serving, as well. Rendered or strained fat can be refrigerated and saved for roasting vegetables or sautéing ingredients for hash made from leftovers. Get the most out of your turkey carcass by simmering them with some aromatics for an outstanding stock to be used in future soups. Giblets included with your turkey can become part of the dressing or gravy. Extra pie crust or crust trimmings can be brushed in butter, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, twisted into any shape you want and baked for a quick sweet treat.

How to Use and Store Leftovers

Even if you’ve calculated the exact amount for the number of people at your Thanksgiving, you’re probably going to end up with at least some leftovers. And, to many, leftovers are an important part of Thanksgiving.

To prepare, have lots of containers for packing up food on hand. Your usual glass or plastic hard-sided options are perfect. If you’re planning to send guests home with food, consider asking them to bring their own storage containers. That way, no one is scrambling when it comes time to pack up.

And be mindful of how long food is put out for. Perishable food, including turkey and many sides, can be left at room temperature for 2 hours. Even less is better, so as soon as everyone is done eating, start cleaning up, as much of a drag as it can be. Eat your refrigerated leftovers within four days. If you need to buy yourself more time, go ahead and freeze them before the four days are out, though ideally sooner for the best quality. Hand out leftovers to guests when they leave.


Krystal, B. (2022, November 10). Advice | how to reduce food waste at Thanksgiving dinner. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 14, 2022.

If you have a recipe you would like to share with us for #whywastewednesday, please email christian.bearden100@gmail.com.

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#whywastewednesday  #foodfindersinc  #foodrescue #stopfoodwaste #reducehunger #improvenutrition #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #Volunteer #Charity #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE
why-waste-food-wednesday-carrotFood Waste

The Mighty Carrot: Don’t Waste It

#WHY WASTE FOOD WEDNESDAY

Carrots are a hearty vegetable with so many nutrients that it is impossible not to use every bit! Here are some tips to keep you storing and preparing the best possible way without waste.

Storing Carrots

Remove the tops of carrots if you buy them with the green leaves attached.  Keep them in a plastic bag in the coolest part of your refrigerator for about two weeks.  And a warning: keep carrots away from apples and potatoes—their gasses will make your carrots bitter.

Another interesting storage tip is that you can store carrots in empty, cleaned milk cartons.  Seal it shut and they should last longer.

Recipes Galore

  • Peel your carrots, slice them into rounded coins and toss them into a mixture of butter and honey.  Make sure they are fully coated and then roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350.  Delicious hot or cold.
carrots roasted with honey
  • Shred your carrots and put them in your salads, sprinkle them on top of sandwiches for an added crunchy bite.
  • Mashed carrots can be eaten alone or blended with mashed potatoes.  If that doesn’t sound good, then sautee some onions in butter and throw in the mashed mixture.  Add ginger for a spicy taste.  The onions add a whole new dimension.
  • Shred your carrots and some beets and apples.  Blend the altogether with a little mayo for an amazing salad experience.
  • Blend up your carrots with apples and you have an incredible smoothie to get your day started!

Don’t Waste Carrots

Soup is nothing without carrots so if you have some lying around then add them to any broth you are making.  Their sweetness adds a nutritional dimension to any type of soup.  Plus pureed carrot soup is wonderful!

And of course, if all else fails, slice up the carrots into sticks and snack on them.  Don’t like raw?  Then steam them.  The flavor of steamed carrots is exceptional!

40% of carrots are thrown into the trash—which means all the water that went into growing them is also thrown out.  Try new ways of preparing these nutritious vegetables.  Your body will be happy and so will the earth!

Adding carrots to soup is delicious

If you have any interesting tips for preparing food to avoid waste, send them to us at marketing@foodfinders.org

READ MORE
Food 4 Kids Program

Making Nutritious Meals: Food 4 Kids Program

Several studies show that nutrition can directly affect the mental capacity of school-aged children. For example, iron deficiency, even in early stages, can negatively impact cognition. Good Nutrition helps students show up at school prepared to learn–and learning is the foundation of how children can grow into healthy and productive adults. Because improvements in nutrition help to make students healthier, they are more likely to have fewer absences and attend class more frequently. When children are not given nutritious meals, studies show that malnutrition leads to behavior problems in the classroom.

Hunger is not just something we must look at as a social issue. It is an economic one. If we know that children can do better in school when fed nutritious food, perhaps we can see the benefit of these same children growing up to lift themselves up and out of poverty to financial independence. Food is more than just hunger, it is a vehicle to elevate entire communities.

Turning A Bag of Food Into A Meal

Contents of one Food 4 Kids Bag

Kelly Alarcon, a Cal State Long Beach Nutrition student who interns at Food Finders loves to talk about the importance of having nutritious meals. She helps the Partner Agency Coordinators to receive food from our Food donors and also helps with pack and sorts for the Food 4 Kids program. The above photo was taken from one bag that was being packed up so that it could be delivered to one of the 15 Title 1 Schools in Long Beach.

Kelly asked if she could take a picture and use her nutrition skills to craft some recipes that could help families extend the meals while also providing a nutritious option. Her studies paid off!

Here is the first bag of recipes we would like to share:

Contents and Nutrition

Tuna 5.4 oz. = 2 packs 140 calories, 17g protein, 0.5g fat, 0 carbs
Instant oatmeal = 2 packs 320 calories; 8 g protein, 4g fat, 66g carbs
Kool Aid Juice Jammer = 1 90 calories, 0 protein, 0 fat, 24 carbs
Canned corn, whole kernel = 2 120 calories; 2g protein, 2g fat, 26g carbs
Black beans = 2 cans 350 calories; 24.5 g protein, 0 fat, 63 carbs
Granola bar = 1 140 Calories; 3g protein, 4 g fat, 25 carbs
Vegetable soup = 1 can 130 calories; 4g protein, 2.5 g fat, 22g carbs
Diced tomatoes = 1 can 88 calories; 3.5 g protein, 0g fat, 17.5 g of carbs
Canned fruit = 2 cans 230 calories; 0g protein, 0g fat, 59g
Boxed mac n cheese = 1 box 875 Calories; 32.5g Fat, 25g protein, 118g carbs

Weekend Meals Recipes

Meal #1: Cheesy Tuna Casserole

Serves 2-3 people

Ingredients To Use:
1- Box mac n cheese
1 – Pack of tuna drained
1 – Can of corn drained

Directions:

  1. Prepare boxed mac n cheese as directed, setting aside ¼ of the noodles for another recipe, and feel free to use any milk, nut milk or water.
  2. Mix all ingredients and serve.

Meal #2: Black Bean, Tomato and Corn Salad

Serves 2-3

Ingredients To Use:
1 – Cans of black beans drained
1 – Can of diced tomatoes drained
1 – Can of corn drained

Directions:

  1. Take all rinsed ingredients and toss in a bowl.
  2. Season as desired
  3. Serve hot or cold

Meal #3: Tuna and Noodle Soup with a Side of Fruit

Serves 1-3

Ingredients to Use:
1 – Cans of vegetable soup
½ Cup of water
1 – Pack of Tuna Drained
1-Can of fruit
Remainder of noodles from boxed Mac n Cheese

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a pot on the stove mixing and heating
  2. Enjoy with side of fruit from the can

Meal # 4: Oatmeal with Fruit

Serves 2-3

Ingredients to Use:

2- Packs of Instant Oatmeal

1-can of fruit drained

Directions:

  1. Prepare instant oatmeal according to package directions
  2. Cut fruit into bite size pieces and top oatmeal with it or eat as a side.

Snack

Juice

Granola Bar

***************************

We look forward to more recipes from Kelly. If you do make any of these, please share your photos of the preparation and completed meal! Email us at mbereket@foodfinders.org

Helping Food 4 Kids

Prior to COVID, the Food 4 Kids Program was delivering 385 bags of food every week to 15 Title 1 Long Beach Elementary Schools. In many cases, these bags of food provided families with their only weekend food option. Support from donors helped us to serve over 10,780 meals per week to families.

Long Beach Unified School District reached out to Food Finders in January with a request to restart the program and add 12 High School Student Wellness Centers to the original Title 1 Schools. Supporting this program would mean that together we can serve 21,560 meals per week by delivering over 770 bags of food to families in Long Beach. It is a good start to elevating so many families!

To Help Support the Food 4 Kids Program click here

If you would like to make an impact on reducing food waste and hunger help us grow our food rescue operations: Donate

#foodfindersinc  #FoodRescue #reducehunger #foodrecovery #Volunteer #Charity #helpfoodinsecurecommunities #HelpEndHunger #EndHunger #fightinghunger #rescuingfood #Donate #makeanimpact

READ MORE