This Sunday, more than one hundred million people in the United States will watch the big game. My family and I will also get together to root for Atlanta. Others have their own food traditions, but in the Gardner household, we gather for football-watching, lots of great snacks and my wife's famous Tex Mex chili.
According to the USDA, 48 million Americans will order takeout or delivery during the game. And if you’re anything like other viewers every year, you probably tend to serve way more food than your guests can eat.
With 70 billion tons of food wasted in the U.S. per year, and this football weekend being the second highest food consumption day next to Thanksgiving, this weekend there’s an opportunity to cut down on the food we waste. If you’re celebrating with your friends and family this Sunday, consider these four tips for reducing food waste at your party:
1. Write a grocery list.
Are you making homemade snacks? Write a checklist before going to the grocery store and stick to it. Make sure you purchase vacuum-sealed chicken for your Buffalo Chicken Dip to ensure that your dish is fresh and flavorful. If you’re like other consumers, you also probably appreciate the variety of package sizes and cuts available at supermarkets—purchasing the correct portion size is a great way to cut down on food waste. While you’re at the store, don’t forget to grab some containers for post-game leftovers.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of cooking, consider convenience foods and ready meals. Sealed Air’s Cryovac® Simple Steps® technology preserves food freshness in portioned containers.
2. Allow your guests to serve themselves (with smaller serving utensils).
If your guests choose what they want and how much, it will reduce the amount of food wasted. Using smaller utensils also encourages smaller portions—leftovers are much better out of the serving dish than someone else’s plate.
3. Send extra food home with guests.
Remember those containers that you bought while grocery shopping? Use those to portion out any leftover food between all guests to take home with them.
4. Properly store leftovers.
The USDA recommends that perishable foods are not left out longer than two hours. Make sure to store food in small, portioned containers that are easy to grab-and-go, and easy to freeze, if needed.
So this Sunday, when you’re rooting for your favorite team, keep in mind how much food you are making, ordering, and potentially wasting. Go Atlanta!