What To Do With Leftover Non-Vegan Food: 3 Options


When you first go vegan, you’ll likely have some non-vegan food left.

Or, if you’re already a vegan, you could be in charge of the food at an event, which will likely include some non-vegan food.

And while I wish I could give you some clever solution to all of these situations, it doesn’t exist.

Really, there are 3 options that you have, pick the one that seems the best for your situation.

1. Donate It To The Less Fortunate

The best solution is to give the non-vegan food to someone who will eat it, so that any animals that suffered to make the food at least don’t do so in vain.

Giving it to the less fortunate (i.e. homeless) could save some other animal from being part of their next meal(s).

This isn’t always possible, it depends on where you live.

A quick Google search for ‘Donate leftover food “city”’ should tell you if this is possible.

food donation services

If it’s not an option, move on to the next one.

2. Have Friends or Guests Take It Home

If donating food isn’t an option, it’s usually because of legal food safety reasons.

But those don’t typically apply to friends or guests of an event if they want to take home leftovers.

This may require a bit of planning, so try to consider this before the event starts:

  • Take stock of how much food is left a bit before you expect people will start to leave.
  • Have containers ready to pack up the excess food.
  • Let people know that taking home extra is an option.

3. Toss It Or Eat It

It seems wasteful to throw out food, but sometimes there’s no other option.

Alternatively, if you’re 100% going to throw it out, there’s a reasonable argument that you also have the option to eat it.

It might seem strange to think about at first, but veganism is about philosophy. Vegans don’t want to contribute to the demand of animal products, which require animals to suffer.

If you’re absolutely 100% sure that the food is going in the trash, you’re not affecting demand at all if you eat it.

Now, you may not want to because animal products can make you sick if you’re not used to them, or you may just find it gross, and that’s fine. I’m just saying it’s an option.

At the same time, this does not apply if it may affect future leftovers.

Say it’s a family event and you eat the last slice of pizza because it was going to be thrown out. If others around you know that you might do that, then they can say in the future that “it’s okay if we order too much, [your name] will just eat the leftovers.” In that case, you are affecting the demand of animal products.

Tossing it is the safest option if you’re not sure.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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