How to make Christmas food sustainable

10 ways to make Christmas food more sustainable by Akis Bimpizas-Pinis

How can we make Christmas food more sustainable? Grantham Scholar Akis Bimpizas-Pinis gives 10 top tips to have a greener Christmas.  

To help people make the most of their Christmas feasts this year Akis has made a list of the top 10 ways to make Christmas food more sustainable.

“Christmas is almost upon us and everybody looks forward to the warmth, joy and even revelry of the annual family gathering,” said Akis.

“But beyond the tinsel joviality of festive pleasantries, for many people in the Western world Christmas has turned into an opportunity for unabashed gluttony forgoing any sense of moderation.

“It’s really important that as well as sharing joy with our loved ones at Christmas we also show some love to the environment as well.”

Top 10 tips on making Christmas food more sustainable

Christmas food
How to make Christmas food more sustainable?

1 Plan well in advance

Plan your Christmas dinner based on the number of expected guests. Make a decision on the menu well in advance and compile a detailed grocery list. Make sure you check your kitchen cupboard, fridge and freezer before your shopping trip.

You wouldn’t like to buy something you already have or miss an invaluable ingredient. A good idea would be to break down your list into several ones for each different store you need to visit in order to avoid confusion and optimise your shopping route.

Don’t forget to ask your guests in advance about any special dietary requirements.

2 Stick to your shopping list

Once in the supermarket, ignore all temptations. Festive discounts and multipack offers may be eye-catching, but you are try to remember you are there just for the items on your list.

Better opt for small size or divisible packs, as it would be easier to freeze your surplus food if you do not use it in time.

3 Don’t let the labels confuse you

The only label referring to food safety is ‘use by’ – meaning that food can be eaten up to the end of the date on the label, but not after it.

‘Best before’ labels indicate that food will be safe to eat after the date on the label, but it may lose its flavour, colour or texture.

4 Learn to love ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables

Just because they look wonky, it doesn’t mean that they are less tasty or nutritious.

Supermarket standards for size, shape and colour are responsible for a large proportion of annual food waste. Sprinkle some love on them and make a difference in 2018.

5 Organise your fridge

Your Christmas feast provides a great opportunity to do that. Take everything out, clean the shelves and make sure that you have placed leftovers and food items about to expire on the front shelf.

Do not forget to keep your fridge temperature at or below 4° C.

6 Store food properly before cooking

Follow storage instructions when it comes to pre-packed fresh produce and make sure you store meat and poultry safely in the fridge or freezer in order to avoid food poisoning.

Store raw meat and poultry in clean, sealed containers on the bottom shelf of the fridge. Always keep cooked meat separate from raw meat.

Fruits and vegetables are kept fresh for longer in a cool, dry place outside the fridge.

7 Follow recipes

Cooking guidelines are there to help you avoid mishaps. Recent reports estimate that a third of UK households bin Christmas turkey and sprouts before the feast due to poor culinary skills.

If you do not trust your cooking skills, you can always invite a friend for a co-cooking session. Sharing is caring when it comes to food!

8 Measure your portions

Overfilling one’s plate is a habit you can overcome by serving an average portion of main or side dishes and offering a top-up if your guest approves.

Another option is to use portion size plates. Under this system, guests can return to the buffet to take more, but are limited to the amount of food they can carry on a plate.

9 Share your surplus food

Distributing your feast surplus to your family and guests is a common practice.

Even better, consider donating it to a local charity or food bank to help people who need it the most.

10 Look for leftover recipes

In case of leftovers, do not worry.

Did you know that you could use leftover cooked turkey or chicken to make tarts? Or combine cooked turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing in pasties? ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ offers a wide variety of Christmas leftover recipes and tips. Make sure you freeze them before cooking to avoid waste.

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