Can you believe it? Christmas is nearly here!
It’s a time of giving, being thankful and spending time with your nearest and dearest.
For many, it’s also a time for overbuying food, as if the stores will never open again! And, sadly, this leads to a huge amount of food waste.
But we’re here to tell you - just because it’s the most indulgent time of year, doesn’t mean it has to be the most wasteful.
By keeping a few simple things in mind, you can continue to fight food waste while still making the most of this year’s festive feasting.
Plan, plan, plan
In the run-up to the big day, take a step back and really think about what your Christmas will be like.
Who will you be eating with? What are their likes and dislikes? Are you providing all the food, or will everyone bring a dish?
The more information you know, the more accurately you’ll know exactly how much food you need.
Stick to those amounts while you’re doing the Christmas grocery shop and you shouldn’t end up overbuying, which of course means less food waste.
Know your storage
You always want to keep your food as fresh as possible for as long as possible - that’s why it’s so important to follow the storage guidelines on your food’s packaging.
Christmas is no different, but there’s always one added complication - do we have enough room for everything?
Before you head to the shops, check the space you have available, and as you’re shopping, keep asking yourself if everything will fit in the recommended storage conditions.
This will keep everything fresher for longer, so you’ll have plenty of time to use your food before it goes bad.
Make freezer space Just in case you don’t get round to eating everything, it’s always best to have a backup plan. So, we’d always recommend clearing some space in the freezer.
Whether you need to store some leftover Christmas dinner or those snacks you didn’t need, there’s no reason to throw them in the bin when you can throw them in the freezer instead.
It’s a great way to avoid waste, and it means you’ll have some extra meals ready to go, so you won’t have to spend as much on the next food shop.
Choose loose groceries
So, you have a plan, you know how much storage space you have, and you’ve just started your festive food shop.
You reach the veg aisle - the only bags of potatoes they sell are 1kg in weight, but you only need 500g of them.
Rather than buying that large bag of food and wasting half of it, opt for loose fruit and veg instead.
That way, you’ll only buy what you need, and hopefully you can save some money in the process.
Check the date When you go for packaged food, make sure you check the use by date - you want to make sure you’ll have plenty of time to use your food over the festive period.
If the date’s too short, try rummaging for a different packet or find an alternative item that you know you will use.
Just make sure you don't mix up the ‘use by’, ‘sell by’ and ‘best before’ dates!
Avoid supermarket deals
We know how enticing those ‘buy one get one free’ offers can look, especially when it’s the season for snacking.
But, if you don’t think you’ll eat it all, don’t buy it - it’s as simple as that.
If the offer is just too good to miss, why not give one pack to friends, or donate it to a food bank?
Gift your leftovers
We’ve all been there - you do all the planning in the world but you still end up cooking way too much. Don’t worry - it wouldn’t be Christmas without three days worth of leftover food!
Luckily there’s an easy solution. Why not send your guests home with a lovely package of delicious leftovers?
That way, the food is more likely to get used, and your tasty cooking won’t go to waste either.
It’s a win-win!
But, one question will still remain - what to do with your portion of the Christmas leftovers?
That’s when it’s time to get creative in the kitchen!
Whether you throw your extras in a tasty curry or on a flavour some festive BBQ, there are so many clever ways to make the most of your food.
If you need some inspiration, we have plenty of great recipes you can try, and they’ll be a refreshing change from the classic turkey sandwich!
Donate what you can
‘Tis the season of giving, so now would be a great time to donate any leftover food items.
Whether you offer them to a charity, a food bank or a neighbour in need, this is a great way to fight food waste and do your bit for the community this Christmas.
Doggy bag? Yes please!
Planning on eating out over the festive period? Like always, plenty will go to waste in restaurants at this time of year.
No matter if it’s the big day itself or your work’s Christmas party, if you have a smaller appetite, don’t be afraid to ask for a smaller portion or a doggy bag at the end of your meal.
Rather than letting food go in the restaurant’s bin, it’s much better if they can avoid cooking too much, or that you bring leftovers home to enjoy the next day.
If you do get a doggy bag, make sure you store the food properly as soon as you get home, and that you re-heat your meal thoroughly before you eat it.