If you regularly follow the news, you know that food wastage is a major concern in the United States.
Some people waste food by cooking too much or leaving their leftovers to rot.
Now, these instances can be unavoidable sometimes.
But what about when you’re served food in the restaurant but cannot finish? Should you carry the leftover food home?
But, Is It Rude to Bring Leftover Food Home From a Restaurant?
No, taking leftover foods home from a restaurant isn’t rude. In fact, many places have special containers for this purpose. In most areas, the servers will even ask you whether they should package the leftover food on your plate to take away.
But sometimes, you may want to bring leftover food depending on the occasion. For instance, if you are attending a business meeting, it may not be proper etiquette, especially if it is held in an upscale restaurant.
However, if you are meeting with friends, carrying the food home is no shame. You’ve paid for it. So it’s only suitable to bring it home, especially if you haven’t eaten much of the food.
Things to Note When Carrying Leftover Food
Leaving leftover food in a restaurant is wasteful. So, it is encouraged that you carry it if you are comfortable.
Remember that companies are not required to provide a container to bring your food home, although some restaurants will offer one.
If a business doesn’t provide a container, it can be challenging to carry your food unless you bring yours.
We should also mention that asking for a doggy bag from the restaurant might not be the wisest thing to do.
It may sound greedy since you can find out in advance whether the restaurant you are going to serves large portions.
If they don’t, ordering a large portion could mean you have ordered for lunch and dinner at once, which won’t create a good impression, especially if you are attending a business lunch.
Please always practice precision ordering if you are with acquaintances instead of friends.
That means you check your hunger level before you order. Order appetizers or salads instead if you aren’t starving or can’t eat much food.
You’d rather order two appetizers and finish them than order a main meal which you can’t finish and carry home as you aren’t with your usual friends.
If you feel weird ordering an appetizer, think of eating a meal without carbs at lunch.
That means you avoid potatoes and pasta as they can make you feel full quickly.
Instead, opt for vegetables as they are less filling and more nutritious.
What Do Restaurants Do with Leftovers Anyway?
Some restaurant owners will throw the food into landfills and destroy the environment without feeling guilty.
However, other responsible managers take the following steps.
1. Donate Food
Many restaurants give uneaten food to the less fortunate, food recovery programs, or food banks.
Some also give it to charities to be distributed among the homeless.
Apart from restaurants, supermarkets also do this to reduce wasting food which is good for the environment.
But we should mention that while donating is a responsible and kind step, it comes with some risks.
Remember that the business could be sued if a person gets an allergic reaction or develops an illness after consuming this food.
Now, court summons is costly and time-wasting. Therefore, no one likes them.
So, instead of taking this risk, some businesses would throw the leftover food in the bin instead of repurposing it.
2. Give it to Allotments for Use in Making Compost
If the food waste is still fresh, the business can collect it and use it to make compost.
This can be used to help plants grow for others to eat. Doing this creates a sustainable food production cycle.
What Should You Do With The Leftovers?
For leftovers in the restaurant, you can ask them to package them for you and eat the food later.
But what about leftovers from the food you made at home?
1. Don’t Throw the Leftovers Away
This goes if you are eating both at home and in a restaurant.
No fresh food should go into the trash or compost bin.
Even if it is little, please do not throw away any food.
Remember, by doing so, you are wasting your hard-earned money and the resources that went into growing the food.
If you are not going to finish food at the restaurant, please carry your container.
Sure it sounds odd, but it is a good way of ensuring you don’t waste food.
2. Eat as Lunch the Next Day
You can save the dish for tomorrow’s lunch instead of throwing it in the bin.
Just store it in a suitable container and carry it to work as your lunch.
If the remaining food is not enough, think of adding a snack or side.
3. Use Them For New Recipes
One of the best things about food is that you can make it in different ways by playing around with recipes.
For example, if you have leftover vegetables, you can combine them for a different taste or bake them into a new meal.
Grains and meats can be used in making fried rice, soups, or scrambles.
The internet has so many recipe ideas for leftover foods.
4. Freeze Them to be Eaten Another Day
Instead of throwing your leftover food, you can store it and eat it after a week. Just freeze it into portion sizes that you can consume later.
Make sure you label them so you will not have to guess which jar you want to defrost.
The above tips are ways you can avoid throwing leftover food.
But as you can see, all of them will need you to eat the food at a later time.
But what if you’re not a leftover food person?
You can use a portion calculator to help you avoid them.
If you are in a restaurant, think of splitting food with a friend or partner or ask the staff whether they offer half serving or a smaller portion.