Weekly Challenges

food and cutting board on table

Week Eight

You’ve made it to the last challenge, which may in fact be the most difficult of all: maintain your newly acquired low food wasting habits!

In the final week, we are challenging you to reflect on things we have learned. They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, that it’s better to take small steps rather than change everything all at once and that as with anything we will face challenges and make mistakes as we go.

Please share any reflections you have about food, the value of food and any changes you’ve noticed or lessons you want to share with others. This could be face-to-face, online, or through social media. This campaign will be active for a couple more weeks for others in the community to continue the conversation so please join in if you choose. Please take advantage of the “Share Your Progress” tool on Join in Dufferin!


Week Seven

A common barrier to preventing food waste for many people is finding the balance between food safety and food waste. This week we will explore best before dates, expiry dates and challenge you to properly store the foods in your fridge to improve longevity.

This week we challenge you to:

  • Challenge: Use your produce storage guide and audit your fridge to make sure your produce is being stored properly
  • Challenge: check the items in your fridge, and search for which items have best before vs which have expiry. Challenge yourself to learn the difference.

Reflection questions:

  • What have you learned about best before vs expiry dates throughout the week?
  • Any surprises in terms of produce storage? Key leanings?
  • Veggie drawers (crispers) how do they work?
  • Fridge organization – do you have any system you want to share?
  • What can’t be stored together?
  • Balancing saving plastic and not wasting food – how to decide
  • Tricks and tips for making food last
  • Leftover guide (how long do they last?)


Week Six

A great way to create healthy meals, reduce food waste and save money includes meal prep and making the most of your leftovers! This week, we challenge you to:

·  Only cook the meals you planned to make for the week

·  Observe the fate of your leftovers (love them? Leave them?)

Reflection questions:

·  Did anything unexpected come up?

·  If you didn’t cook a meal, what was the reason for that?

·  If you did cook all the meals, what did you notice? Did you make better use of the food?

·  Did you plan to make leftovers? Did you use them? How does your household feel about leftovers?

·  Was there much food waste as a result of not sticking to plan or having leftovers?

·  Are you a “good provider”?  The “good provider” is a description of a characteristic of a group of people who may tend to over purchase, cook too many portions or have more options available than will be eaten in order to make sure their children, families or guests are well taken care of. Did you, or were you tempted to make more food than what you knew you’d use? If you made just the right amount, how did you do that? If you identify with being a “good provider”, how can you remain a good provider while making sure that food doesn’t go to waste?

·  Did you find yourself using the freezer?  What happens to food after it goes in the freezer? For some people this is a place to put food to sit a long time before it is eventually thrown out to reduce feelings of guilt or shame for throwing food away.

·  How do you get creative with leftovers?

·  Do different people in your household feel differently about leftovers?

If you have a chance, please engage with others about your experience. This could be face-to-face, online, or through social media.


Week Five

One of the key actions in reducing food waste, saving money, eating healthier and benefiting the environment is MENU PLANNING.

This week’s challenge theme is menu planning and grocery shopping. Over-buying is one of the main causes of food waste. A good menu plan and grocery shopping list will go a long way towards reducing your food waste.

Challenge this week:

Create a menu plan for the week. This doesn’t have to be all 7 days at once because we all know life happens and plans change. Let’s see how well you can stick to what you plan.

· Based on your meal plan, create a shopping list and challenge yourself to only buy what is on your shopping list. It’s usually recommended to plan 2 or 3 days at a time and shop for fewer things more frequently rather than for the whole week at once.

Reflection questions:

· What did you think was going to go well or be challenging for menu planning this week? Did these turn out to be true?

· What was your strategy? Did you plan all 7 at once, or a few days at a time? Would you use this again? How would you improve your strategy?

· Did you follow through with the meal plan or did other unexpected factors impact the plan?

· Do you use any tools or aps to help with meal planning or grocery shopping?

· Does your household have a shopping routine? Same day? Same person? What tips and tricks do you have to share that others might find useful? Do you shop at multiple stores?

If you have a chance, please engage with others about your experience. This could be face-to-face, online, or through social media.

My menu planner

- Use this tool to create customized menu plans:

https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/MenuPlanner.aspx(External link)


- Get inspiration for healthier recipes to include in your menu planning:

https://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Recipes.aspx(External link)


- My menu planner:

- Cooking healthy just got easy.



Week Four

This week concludes the first phase of the challenge. We want to spend this week reflecting on what we have noticed and observed this week before launching into solutions and skills next week.


· Debrief about what you’ve observed over the last month

· Avoidable/unavoidable

· Cost

· Healthy eating

Reflection questions:

- Reflect on the past weeks and what you’ve noticed about household food waste, what are some of the things that have stood out to you?

- Has your perspective on food waste changed at all so far?

- Are you looking forward to the next phase of the challenge where we will explore some of the strategies to prevent and reduce the amount of food waste we produce?

If you have a chance, please engage with others about your experience. This could be face-to-face, online, or through social media.


Week Three

This week our theme is about nutritious food that goes to waste. For most families fruits and vegetables are the category of food which are wasted the most. Fresh fruits and vegetables are very healthy and one that most of use don’t eat enough of regularly. In connection to last week, they are also costly.

Your challenge this week is to reflect back and take notice this week about what categories of food are going into the green bin (fruits and vegetables? Grains? Meat and protein foods? Leftovers? Plate scrapings?).

·Challenge: take photos of what you’re throwing out and share with us! Post your photos and reflections in the Share your Progress tool.

Reflection questions:

·What did you notice was going into edible food waste?

·Share the variety of types and categories of foods that were going to waste. Were these nutritious foods? Do you feel that nutritious foods are expensive?

·Comment on some of the benefits of being able to waste less food from a nutrition perspective.

·Reflect on the cost to eat healthy and what changes could be done to avoid throwing out these expensive nutritious foods and how this can help in various ways (health, budget, saving time).

·Do you find grocery bills expensive for buying healthy fresh food? Bring this back to last weeks topic of cost and how to shop more affordably.

·Any insight into why these foods are ending up in the green bin?

If you have a chance, please engage with others about your experience. This could be face-to-face, online, or through social media.


Week Two

This week’s theme is the cost of food waste. For most families, the cost of food is a significant piece of the family budget and saving money is always a welcomed opportunity. It is estimated that the average Canadian household wastes about $1500 per year on food that is thrown out.

Activity: using the weight of the avoidable compost bin from last week, use the calculation ($3.60 per pound) and calculate the cost of the edible (avoidable) wasted food.

Here are some ideas to reflect on in this week’s:

- What were your thoughts when you did the calculations? Did the cost of this surprise you? Did it seem like a lot? A little? Accurate?

- When you think about how this weekly cost will add up over a year, how much would that be for you? If someone gave you this amount of money, what would you do with it?

If you have a chance, please engage with others about your experience on the “Share Your Progress” tool, or face-to-face, online, or through social media. Remember to use the hashtags #planttosave #reducefoodwaste


Week One

Welcome to your first Food Waste reduction challenge and thank you for taking part!

Your challenge for this week to start becoming more aware of your food waste, and simply noticing what you throw out into the green bin. Specifically notice whether the items you discard are unavoidable (bones, shells ect.) or are foods that were at some point in time, edible.

Activity: This week use your Green Bin and a second container to separate foods that you discard. In one bin throw everything that’s unavoidable (e.g. bones, shells, coffee grounds) and use the other bin to throw out any food that at some point was edible. At the end of the week, weigh the avoidable compost bin and keep this number in mind for next weeks challenge.


oWhat were your thoughts on the amount of avoidable food that went to waste this week? What you expected? Surprised?

oAnything else that stood out for you as you were observing what’s going into your green bin?

Feel free to share your experiences and insights here on Join in Dufferin and on social media!