The festive season is upon us, and with it comes the joy of indulging in delicious holiday meals. However, the enthusiasm to treat our guests often leads to overbuying, resulting in unnecessary food waste. To navigate this challenge, a bit of planning is key. Here’s a guide to help you take control of your Christmas food spending and planning.
How to plan Christmas meals this festive season:
Christmas meal planning
Start by treating your meals with the same care as your presents. Consider the number of guests, the meals they’ll join you for, their ages, and any dietary preferences or allergies. Map out each meal over the Christmas period, including regular household days. Check your pantry for existing ingredients that can be incorporated into your plan.
Factor in leftovers, such as roast meats, and plan accompaniments like potatoes and salad. Choose dishes that cater to various dietary needs, and consider batch cooking versatile dishes like curry or chilli to make the most of cost-effective ingredients while minimising time spent in the kitchen.
Use a portion planner
Determine the right amount of food by utilising a portion planner. Websites like BBC Good Food offer Christmas-specific portion planners, ensuring you know exactly how much roast chicken or other items you need per person. This step is crucial in avoiding both excess and scarcity on the Christmas feast table.
Make a shopping list
With your meal plan and portion planner in hand, create a detailed Christmas food shopping list. Stick to what you need, resisting the temptation to grab extra festive treats at the supermarket. A well-thought-out list is a practical tool to stay disciplined during the shopping frenzy.
Share the shopping – and the leftovers!
Ease the burden by sharing the shopping responsibilities with your guests. Encourage them to bring a dish, whether it’s a starter, dessert, or nibbles. Challenge each person or family to acquire specific items, ensuring a diverse and collaborative feast. After the festivities, share and divide any leftovers to minimise waste.
Consider a buffet rather than a sit-down meal
Buffet-style food is perfect for this time of year – and people are more than happy to grab what they want. It is also perfect for Christmas when there are lots of people inevitably coming over.
Lastly, don’t feel constrained by culinary traditions. If roasted lamb or gammon isn’t a crowd-pleaser, consider alternatives like roasted chicken. The key is to enjoy every bite and minimise leftovers that might go to waste.
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