SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The holidays are here, and that means a lot of food! Ashley Krug from the City of Springfield Environmental Services has some tips to help us minimize food waste at home as we prepare our Thanksgiving meals this week.

How much food waste do we generate?

Individually we generate nearly 500 pounds of food waste each year.

That number increases by about 25 percent between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

How can we minimize food waste? Cook and serve with a plan.

Use the Guestimator, it’s an online tool where you can put in how many people you will be hosting, the main and side dishes you want to serve, and even how many leftovers you want. The Guestimator will tell you exactly how much food you should prepare.

Krug says other ways to help minimize food waste overall is to shop those “ugly foods” at the grocery store that might not look perfect but are still safe to eat. In addition, shopping at local farmers’ markets can help minimize packaging, and you help support the local economy. And, of course, embrace leftovers in creative ways, and don’t forget to store them in reusable containers!