Portion planning in the fridge

One of my biggest struggles with reducing food waste at home was being more realistic about how much food I was actually cooking for my family, when we entertained, or had festive family gatherings. There are lots of portion planning tools out there but a lot of them were not that great. So I decided to lay it all out in a handy chart, something that makes sense to me and a useful tool I could share with you.

Now by all means, there may be big eaters in your family or small children that graze more than eat. So don’t HOLD me to these portions, and judge accordingly to who you are cooking for as you prep.

My top food waste tips when serving a crowd:

When prepping produce, think of the plate your family or guests are going to serve it up on. See the plate with a protein, a bit of mash say, and some veggies. I know for a fact we will all eat a small handful of green beans, or typically 5-6 Brussels sprouts each (that’s if everyone loves Brussels) per person. So if you don’t want to deal with any leftovers really think this through while you prep. Counting as you go is great!

Family style saves food! Make your life easier and let them serve their own damn selves! This way they take exactly what they want and if any is left behind it is easier for you to scoop it up from platters and store the leftovers.

When shopping, buy food not packaging. Reduce your foot and foodprint this way by forcing yourself to be in a position of buying exactly the amount of food you need, instead of buying too much in bulk packaging. You think you will eat up that giant vat of hummus, but will you really?

The Zero Food Waste Kitchen’s Portion Planning Guide: note that the amounts listed are all per person.

Appetizers, Small BitesMains and SidesDesserts
Pre-dinner nibbles: 4 to 6 bites.Protein (raw)
Fish: 4 oz (115 g) 
Poultry: 105 g
Beef : 90 g
Pork and Lamb: 87 g
Tofu/Plant-Based Protein: 4 oz (115 g)
Cakes, pies and tarts: 1 slice
Party where only small bites are served:
6 bites per hour
Grains and Rice (uncooked)
1/3 cup (80 mL) as a side
Pudding, custard and mousse: 4 oz. (115g)
Breads, Rolls, and Biscuits:
3 oz (85 g) or 1 to 2 slices or pieces
Pasta (dry uncooked)
2 oz (55 g) as a side
4 oz (115 g) as a main
Cookies and squares: 2 pieces
Potatoes: 6 oz (180 g) 
All other vegetables: 3 oz (85g)
Ice cream, sorbet and gelato: 1/2 cup (125 mL)
Hardy chopped salads: 1 cup (250 mL)
Leafy lettuce salads: 2 cups (500 mL)
Fruit salad or cut fruit: 1/2 cup (125 mL)

Now that you have portion planning under control, check out my recipes and put your new skills to use! You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook for more zero-waste tips, tricks and recipes.