Serena Caner, registered dietician

Healthy bites: Managing Thanksgiving leftovers

By Serena Caner

Post-Thanksgiving is a time when many of must come to terms with our grocery habits.

The 20-kilogram turkey seemed like a good idea, until we realize we will be eating turkey until Christmas.

The mashed potatoes and stuffing were delicious but half our guests no longer eat carbs.

Finding space for these amongst our other leftovers, the forgotten-now-moldy-head-of-lettuce and our collection of condiments we’ve only used once, is tricky.

Barely able to close the fridge door, we suddenly hope for that a hungry hockey team will show up to clean out the saran-wrapped-aluminum-foiled-tupperware mess that has become our fridge.

The average Canadian household throws away about $1,500 of food per year.

In Canada, $31 billion of food ends up in landfills or composters each year, according to a 2014 report from Value Chain Management International.

Many of us could do a better job of managing our own food waste. Besides the obvious answer of not overbuying, food wastage can be minimized by knowing a few things about your fridge:

The coldest area of your fridge is the bottom shelf. This is where you should store highly perishable items such as meat and dairy.

The drawers at the bottom of your fridge are low-humidity. This will extend the life of most fruits and vegetables.

The fridge door is the warmest area- put condiments and more shelf-stable items here (not dairy).

People are most likely to eat foods placed at the front of the top two shelves. Put leftovers that need to be eaten here.

The best-before date is not an indicator of food safety, but refers to the freshness of an unopened product.

You can buy and eat foods after the best-before date has passed; however, the food may have lost some of its freshness, flavour, or texture.

This means unopened dairy past its best before date may not have gone bad, so test before you toss.

(I use the highly scientific eye-nose test. Is there visible mould? Does it smell off?)

Do not store bread or wine on top of your fridge.

This area is very warm and may speed up the spoilage of food products.

-Serena Caner is a registered dietitian who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.

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