Have Christmas leftovers? Don't waste them! Helpful hints from a nutrition expert

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Posted at 10:35 AM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 10:48:46-05

A last-minute trip to finish your Christmas meal could have you leaving the store with a lot more than you came in for.

That could lead to a lot of food waste, warns Zach Conrad, an assistant professor of nutrition at the College of William & Mary.

His suggestion? Any time you leave for the grocery store, have a shopping list, especially around a holiday.

"Consumers are facing a lot of coupons and a lot of intense advertising of food that encourages them to buy more than what they need. If you go to the store with a list, that helps kind of keep you on track," Conrad, who's been studying food waste for years, said.

He tells News 3 the impact of throwing out uneaten food is two-fold: It hurts the environment and it's a waste of money.

It's always a challenge around the holidays, when people tend to prepare more food than they need. Leftovers may not get finished or a person may not know what to do with them.

"With prepared foods that you have left over from your meal, there are some creative ways you can incorporate them into your next meal," he said. "It can help you reduce the amount of food you end up throwing away because you forgot about it or didn't know how to incorporate it into your meals."

To help, Conrad suggests apps like FoodKeeper that he says can show which leftover foods might fit together for a meal and how long certain perishable foods last.

Avoiding food waste boils down to three things, he says: Be aware of the problem, make a shopping plan to keep from buying too much and get creative with foods that end up left over.