No Waste Festive Food
Christmas and food, they’re inseparable – perhaps explaining the term ’tis the season to be jolly’! In the lead up to Christmas however, preparing and cooking the big meal can often be time-consuming, expensive and a tad stressful – who can remember what strange diets our relatives are on this year?
Christmas dinner can also come with a lot of extra waste. In 2014 it was estimated that 4.2 million Christmas dinners were wasted in the UK alone. That’s equal to 263,000 turkeys, 7.5 million mince pies, 740,000 slices of Christmas pudding, 17.2 million Brussels sprouts, 11.9 million carrots and 11.3 million roast potatoes! That’s not even mentioning all the valuable resources that go in to growing and transporting our food like water, fuel and labour.
With less than two weeks to go, now’s the perfect time to start planning – and believe it or not cooking – your Christmas meals. Perhaps you already have a good idea about what you’re going to cook or maybe you’ve been avoiding thinking about it because the thought is so daunting. Well, we’re here to help you relax, with a little bit of planning and preparation you’ll be sitting with your feet up sipping something festive with turkey in the oven and an empty food waste bin!
Festive Meal Planner
First things first, what will you cook? Get yourself comfortable and put aside half an hour to look through cook books or go online for some festive inspiration. Then, find out how many people you’ll be cooking for, and when you’ll be eating at home over Christmas. Whether it’s dinner for 2 or 10, or you’ll be eating away from home most days, knowing in advance what your plans are will help to make sure that you have the right amount of food at home. We have some useful tips on measuring and portion sizes here. Then use our redesigned festive meal planner to help you keep track of when you’re eating at home, who you’ll be eating with and what you’re planning to eat.
Create Some Space
Before you dash out to the shops, take a look at what ingredients you might already have and how much storage space there is too! If you need to clear out some freezer or cupboard space, try planning your next few meals around what you already have – remember to write it down in the meal planner. Then, create your shopping list and don’t forget it once you head out!
Not eating at home?
Lucky you! Ask your host if you can bring anything along to help and remember to let them know if you have any dislikes, allergies or restrictions. Then sit back and plan your food for the days and nights you will be eating in over the festive period.
Now get cooking!
When you have some time this week, and are feeling inspired, start cooking. Just remember to keep a note of what you’ve already made, so that you don’t end up buying more. You can freeze and store much of what you’ll need and it will taste just as good, saving precious time and stress as Christmas day gets closer. Here are some of our favourite festive food tips:
- Breadcrumbs can be frozen – ready to top a crumble or bake. Put them in a plastic container or bag and when you want to use them just cut up the block of crumbs, take out what you need and leave the rest in the freezer. They defrost really quickly too.
- Dessert can be made ahead of time – prepare your mince pies early on and freeze uncooked in baking trays until solid. Once frozen, pack them in boxes and bake a few at a time or when needed.
- Make stuff(ing) in advance – Stuffing can be made ahead of time and frozen. Your guests will never know the difference!
- Vegetables too –If you’re having lots of company around for Christmas dinner, prepare your vegetables a day or two before and store in the fridge. If you really want to be a food waste hero, leave the skin on after giving your veg a good rinse – except onions that is!