6 Tips to Minimize Holiday Food Waste

October 19, 2016

by Lani Jacobs-Banner

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Have you ever made a new recipe that calls for ingredients you have never used before and don’t know how you will use again? Or bought a bagful of groceries for a meal that only uses a portion of each item you purchased? Both of these situations reflect the fact that in America we throw away almost 40% of the food we produce. This statistic inspired us to reduce food waste with recipe ideas for the ingredients that might be left over from your holiday menu.

Looking at our free Natural Grocers good4u Holiday Table e-cookbook, there are a few non-pantry items called for in the menu that will leave you with some excess. Be sure to get what you paid for by enjoying all these tasty ingredients with the ideas below.

Nuts and seeds

Our Spicy Nut Crunch recipe might leave you with leftover almonds, spicy pumpkin seeds, coconut flakes, coconut shreds, and dried cherries. Here are a couple ideas to inspire you to use up these tasty and nutritious ingredients.

  • Each of these ingredients is a great snack food. Try blending them into a trail mix to take with you to work or school, or place them in a bowl on the counter for a healthy snack. The ratio of one part nuts, one part seeds, ½ part dried fruit, and ½ part coconut makes a tasty option.
  • Try adding the almonds, coconut and cherries to yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast.
  • Use the spicy pumpkin seeds in salads or soups to add flavor and texture.
  • And consider using the coconut to make easy and delicious macaroons with this recipe from thekitchn.com.

White miso

Miso paste is an ingredient in our vegan-friendly Tempeh Cutlets recipe. Miso is traditionally used in soup, but it also makes a delicious addition to Asian style sauces and dressings. If you don’t want to use the remaining miso right away, don’t worry! White miso paste typically has a long shelf life (more than half a year) when kept in the refrigerator. Just be sure to look at the best-by-date on the package.

Shallots

Our Very Merry Vinaigrette recipe might leave you with more of this sweeter and milder cousin of garlic than needed in the recipe. Shallots are valued in French and Asian cooking and used liberally in vinaigrettes like these.

  • This French style Lemon-Shallot Vinaigrette from foodandwine.com is delicious over grilled veggies and with grilled chicken or fish.
  • This recipe from bonappetit.com uses rice vinegar for more of an Asian feel. Try using over chopped baby bok choy with grated carrot and red onion.

Canned pineapple chunks

Used to sweeten Margaret’s Awesome Cranberry Sauce, canned pineapple makes a tasty addition to many recipes. Try adding it to your morning smoothie, eating it with full fat yogurt for dessert, including it in fruit salad, or using it as a fun topping for pizza. You can drain and freeze the leftovers to use whenever needed (although this will dry out the pineapple a bit).

Cheese

Depending on how many batches of our delicious post-Thanksgiving turkey wrap you make, you may have some leftover cream cheese or blue cheese. Cheese is one of my favorite foods, so I am never at a loss for how to include it in recipes, and here is some inspiration to help you enjoy every bite.

  • Cream cheese is delicious when melted with your favorite veggies in an omelet, as a spread on sandwiches, as a twist to brownies, as a part of warm dips, or mixed with fresh berries as a pancake or waffle topper.
  • Blue cheese makes a delicious dipping sauce for chicken wings and veggies, a unique filling for grilled cheese sandwiches or an addition to mac-n-cheese, a tasty addition to your favorite burger, and a flavorful companion to roasted veggies like beets, Brussels sprouts, or winter squash.

Turkey carcass

While you may not consider the carcass to be a leftover ingredient, it, along with excess vegetables such as onion, celery, carrot, and rutabaga, is a useful ingredient in bone broth. Bone broth not only adds depth of flavor to soups all winter long, it also includes many health supportive nutrients, including gelatin to support healthy skin and the amino acid glycine to support healthy sleep.

Minimizing food waste is an important part of our Natural Grocers commitment to the environment and our communities. We hope that the ideas above inspire you to make the most of your Holiday meal ingredients and embrace a sustainable cooking style.

Meet the Blogger


Lani Jacobs Banner_MG_3329Lani Jacobs-Banner has her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She has been working for Natural Grocers for over a decade, helping individuals and families find the foods that nourish them and help them work toward their health goals. Lani is passionate about providing her family with the highest quality, and most delicious, gluten-free meals that her husband and two boys will enjoy. Through sharing her love of cooking and nutrition, she hopes to inspire you to use food to support your health!


NOTHING IN THIS WEBSITE IS INTENDED AS, OR SHOULD BE CONSTRUED AS, MEDICAL ADVICE. ANY HEALTHCARE AND/OR NUTRITIONAL MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS WEBSITE IS FOR CONSUMER INFORMATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. SUCH MATERIAL IS NOT INTENDED AS MEDICAL ADVICE FOR CONDITIONS OR TREATMENT, NOR IS IT INTENDED AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR A MEDICAL EXAMINATION BY A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL. CONSUMERS SHOULD CONSULT THEIR OWN HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS FOR INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL RECOMMENDATIONS.

Written by: Lani Jacobs-Banner

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