Food for Thought Column: How to never cook too much again

Homemade leftover thanksgiving day sandwich with turkey, cranberry sauce, feta cheese and vegetables. Top view

(NC) Households are Canada’s leading source of food waste, accounting for roughly 47 per cent of all edible goods that get thrown out. Fortunately, it’s easy to close the loop on household food waste.

“Closing the food loop can be fun! All while benefiting our people, communities, and reducing our footprint on the earth,” Ned Bell, Ocean Wise Executive Chef and member of the Loblaw Food Council. “When you break out of your habits and adopt more sustainable ones, exciting thing can happen!”

Below are a few suggestions you can use in your kitchen at home.

Plan your meals. Writing down a few meals for the week is an excellent way to build your grocery list. While freestyling it at the store is a fun way to get inspired, it’s also a recipe for getting mismatched ingredients or too much food. With your list, there’s still some leeway to get what looks good without going bananas.

Shop smart. When you’re looking for produce, make sure to inspect it for freshness. It’s okay to buy fruit that’s already ripe as long as you plan to eat it soon. Always check the best before dates to ensure you’ll eat whatever you’ve bought before it goes bad. Be careful when packing or transporting delicate goods like produce or eggs — hitting them could cause damage and cause them to spoil earlier.

Measure well. Measure twice, cook once. Did you know the hole at the bottom of a pasta spoon measures roughly a serving? When it comes to rice, try 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup of dried rice per person. An easy way to get your meat servings right is to make sure it’s roughly the size of a playing card. In general, half of your plate should be veggies, one quarter meat and one quarter starch.

Think about leftovers. Save yourself from cooking another dinner or lunch, especially if you have a busy schedule. Leftovers are versatile — veggies are great in pasta, chili, or an omelet while leftover chicken is equally at home in a salad, in a sandwich or in soup. Even leftover fish is great with mayo and onions or celery in a sandwich or salad, and rice can be made into pudding, stir-fry or soup.

Canadian households average more than $1,400 in food waste annually, so economizing on ingredients and watching your cooking habits might even save you money. Find more tips online at

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