Mindfulness & Food During the Holidays


As we enter the holiday season, a time of gratitude, embracing a mindful approach to food becomes increasingly relevant. Expressing gratitude for our abundance and recognizing the journey from farm to table are key aspects of this mindfulness. Additionally, extending our mindfulness to those less fortunate enriches our holiday experience.

While the holiday season is synonymous with bountiful feasts, there's a flip side to overindulgence— the post-celebration guilt when faced with discarded leftovers during refrigerator cleanup. While reveling in the joy of festive meals with loved ones, let's also extend that love to the planet.

Consider these simple tips to reduce food waste:

1. Meal Planning: Engage in effective meal planning by taking inventory of your kitchen, creating a shopping list, and adhering to it. This proactive approach helps avoid unnecessary purchases, ensuring that you don't end up with excessive leftovers.

  • Take advantage of clearance sections in grocery stores for imperfect but still usable produce.
  • Review your menu even after shopping; can you adjust recipe sizes or omit a dish?
  • Do an inventory of what you have in your house already.  Think about substitutions you can make that will work just as well with the pantry staples that are sitting around.

2. Storing and Using Leftovers: Properly store leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. Minimize disposable plastic usage by opting for reusable containers.

  • Consider freezing leftovers for future use.
  • Label containers with contents and date for easy identification.
  • Think creatively about combining leftovers for soups, casseroles, or other dishes.
  • Have extra take-out containers and send your guests home with leftovers.

3. Freezing Tips:

  • Foods that freeze well include meats, grains, cooked sweet potatoes, winter squash, roasted root vegetables, and even cookies.
  • Ensure food is fully cooled before freezing and remove excess air from containers.
  • Lay plastic bags flat for efficient stacking in the freezer.
  • Label and organize the freezer for easy retrieval.

 The holiday season is an opportune time to adopt a more conscientious approach to food waste. By being mindful of what and how much we consume, we not only save money but also contribute positively to the environment. Small, intentional changes can have a significant impact on reducing food waste. Let's commit to a more aware and sustainable holiday celebration.

Have a happy holiday and stay tuned for more in "The Mindful Foodie" column and be sure to follow me on Instagram @mmkmethod and download my free eBook, "Becoming a Mindful Foodie”.

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