5 Tips For Reducing Food Waste Over Christmas

As we settle into the most wonderful time of the year, delight in the company of loved ones, and savour plenty of mince pies and mulled wine, we often get caught up and neglect to consider the impact we, as a nation, have on the environment in this time.

Upon enjoying our Christmas dinners, the equivalent of:

  • 2 million turkeys
  • 5 million mince pies
  • 7 million pigs in blankets
  • 11 million roast potatoes
  • 12 million carrots
  • 17 million Brussels sprouts

go to waste each Christmas in the UK!

Here are our 5 top tips for reducing food waste over Christmas:

1. Use your leftovers wisely – think outside the box

You may be well-versed in more typical dishes like bubble and squeak, turkey sandwiches, and cheese-to-excess, but this is also a chance to get creative and try to turn your scraps into meals as well.

Use the leftover turkey carcass and scrap veg for a broth and make a delicious ramen. Alternatively, freeze for on-hand stock cubes. Use leftover veg and meat in a pie, curry or a warming winter salad for some post-feast micros. You can even cook in bulk and then freeze for later.

2. Avoid overbuying

Certainly easier said than done in the season of giving, but by only buying what you need. This will of course reduce your food waste. Aim to head to the shops with lists of what you need. Try to stick to them, and avoid giving in to any festive offers.

3. Build your plate wisely

Christmas is always filled with delicious food, that’s typically only eaten at that time. Therefore it can be easy to have eyes bigger than your stomach and to pile your plate high with anything that tickles your fancy. However, this can lead to waste in two ways. Firstly, you either don’t finish what’s on your plate, and it ends up in the bin or secondly, you force yourself to finish what’s on your plate, end up past a point of comfortable fullness, and it’s a waste in your body! 

The great thing about Christmas is that there is always more food. Start with smaller servings with the knowledge that you will be able to have seconds, thirds, fourths, or more, should you want it. Not only will this help to reduce your food waste, but it will also help push against the trap that many fall into this time of year – eating far past fullness.

4. Make friends with your freezer

Even the very best planners are left with some excess food at Christmas. If you have perishable items that you fear you won’t get around to using before they expire, pop them in the freezer to have at a later date. If you’re super organised, you might consider buying food and freezing immediately while fresh – defrosting and using up as you go. 

If you’re looking for canapes and nibbles, most large supermarkets have Christmas party food ranges that can be frozen after purchase, and then all popped in the oven at the same temperature, for the same amount of time – a perfect solution if you’re not quite sure on numbers when you hit the shops.

5. Donate excess food

Any non-perishable items you’re in excess of can always be donated to your nearest food bank – the issue often lies with perishable items instead. Consider checking in on any elderly or less-able friends, relatives or neighbours, who may be alone for the holidays and perhaps not in as much of an excess of food as your own family.

The holiday season is of course for enjoying yourselves and your time with loved ones, but it never hurts to be mindful of your waste!

Not only does it better the environment, but it also has additional health benefits by reducing excessive eating, which can, in turn, improve your mental health as well, as feelings of ‘guilt’ will dissipate (although it’s important to note that eating too much does not make you a bad person).

There are also financial benefits to minding your waste as well – the less you throw away, the more you have saved environmentally and financially! You’ll be prepped for January with lots of tasty meals in the freezer and will have spent less in December as well. It’s a win all around.

Fresh Fitness Food provides personalised meal plans delivered straight to your door. We ensure not only that you have the nutrients you need to support your goals, but also that you have the time usually spent shopping, cooking and washing up, to engage in your favourite festive activities. To discuss which nutrition plan is right for you, book a call with our in-house nutrition team here.

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Meghan Foulsham

Published by Meghan Foulsham

Meghan's fascination with metabolism and the effect of diet on the body covered in her BSc Biochemistry, paired with being a passionate mental health advocate, led her to a Master's degree in Eating Disorders and Clinical Nutrition. Using this, Meghan works with clients to help them reach their goals in the most sustainable way, without sacrificing or risking their mental health.

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