- Many COUNTY people throw out food in the Christmas period by buying too much.
- Investing a little time to plan your festive food can waste less, save you money, save you time, and make you feel more organised.
- The EPA is providing five helpful tips which can stop COUNTY people wasting food over the festive period.
Christmas is a time for giving, and sadly also a time when a lot of food is wasted in COUNTY and all over Ireland. The good news is that taking some simple steps to manage your food during the busy festive season will save you money, save you time and make you feel more organised this Christmas. By thinking ahead and planning what you are going to eat, and being smarter when you shop, you can help avoid food waste and reduce stress and hassle during the festive period. If you know what meals you’re going to eat you’re less likely to buy extra food you don’t need, more likely to use the food you buy so it doesn’t end up wasted.
With this in mind, EPA food waste expert Odile Le Bolloch has five tips to avoid wasting food:
- Plan your Christmas menu – it’s never too late to start: Think back to Last Christmas and try to pinpoint what types of food were unused and thrown out. Was it something you and your loved ones really didn’t like, such as Brussels sprouts? Perhaps you stocked up on too many basics like milk and bread? This year, whether you are having a small or large festive gathering, plan how much food you will need for the number of people joining you. Trust your plan, you don’t need to go overboard and buy extra ‘just in case’. Make new traditions by not buying food that nobody really likes or won’t have room for, and remember supermarkets and local shops will only be closed for two days!
- Stick to your Christmas shopping list – only buy what you need: A gift to yourself (saving energy, money and stress) is to write your All I Want for Christmas food shopping list before you leave the house. Check what items you already have in your cupboards and freezer, so you only buy food you need. Then the hardest part, stick to your list. Don’t be tempted by the ‘buy–one–get-one-free’ or other special offers, they are not value for money unless eaten. Make sure the ‘use-by’ dates on perishable food such as dairy and meat will still be good when you plan to eat them.
- Store your Christmas food properly – make the most of it: So, It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas with your decorations up and Christmas shopping done. Storing food properly will help it last longer. For example, keeping fruit like bananas and nectarines in the fruit bowl will cause the other fruit to ripen quicker, so keep them apart. Fridge and freezer space might be tight so before Christmas try to use up what’s already there. Serve and eat the more perishable foods first and then bring out the longer life food – when the prawn ring runs out, bring out the cheese and crackers! Remember that freezing your Christmas food, either before or after cooking, is like a pause button - it adds weeks or even months, from bread and cream to veg and even wine.
- Cooking enough Christmas fare – give family style serving a go: Resist cooking too much over Christmas by anticipating how much your family and guests will want to eat. Try an online portion size calculator to help you estimate the portions you need to cook. For example, it is recommended that you need 450-600 grams of turkey (on the bone) per person. Rather than plating individual meals, allow everyone to serve themselves from large serving dishes - we’re more inclined to save leftovers from a serving dish than from someone’s plate. So, Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and save your leftovers for another meal, instead of being scraped off plates into the bin.
- Amazing festive leftovers – can save you time and money: Leftovers are delicious ingredients for your next meal and - for most of us - leftovers are the main staple on St. Stephen’s Day, or what can be thought of as ‘National Leftovers Day’! Once cooled, place leftovers in reusable, resealable tubs in the fridge, to be eaten and not forgotten! Leftovers are the no stress, minimal cooking food that makes it easy for you to invite family and friends around during Christmas time. It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year so look up leftover recipes like the reliable turkey curry and get creative!
The EPA’s Stop Food Waste programme is the national food waste prevention campaign, providing guidance and resources to help you reduce your food waste. Check out the resources available such as Surviving the Christmas grocery shop and the 12 Days of Christmas Recipes at stopfoodwaste.ie. - HERE