Tristram Stuart -- a food waste expert and contributing author to State of the World 2011 of the Worldwatch Institute -- said some simple changes in food responsibly and donating excess to the hungry, could help make the holiday season more plentiful and hunger-free for all.
The United States generates an extra 5 million tons of household waste each year between Thanksgiving and New Year's, including three times as much food waste as at other times of the year, Stuart said.
"When our total food waste adds up to 34 million tons each year, that equals a lot of food," Stuart said in a statement.
As Americans prepare for the holidays, the Worldwatch Institute advises to:
-- Be realistic: The fear of not providing enough to eat often causes hosts to cook too much. Instead, plan out how much food will realistically be needed.
-- Plan ahead: Create a shopping list before food shopping.
-- Go small: The season of indulgence often promotes plates piled high with more food than can be eaten.
-- Encourage self-serve: Allow guests to serve themselves.
-- Compost food scraps: Instead of throwing out the vegetable peels, eggshells, and other food scraps from making your meal.
-- Use vegetable scraps and turkey carcasses for stock and soups.
-- Donate excess: Food banks and shelters gladly welcome donations of canned and dried foods, especially during colder months.
-- Support food-recovery systems. Some will come to you to collect your excess.
-- When giving food as a gift avoid perishable items.