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Aveen Bannon

This year, let it be a green Christmas!

When it comes to Christmas, we often talk about overindulgence and potential weight gain, but for a moment, let’s think about the impact overindulgence can have on the environment. How many of us buy a little extra in case someone visits? Buy traditional Christmas foods that we may not really enjoy but feel like we should have them? Shop like a supermarket will never open again just in case!

Making prudent food choices can help reduce food waste and save money without impacting on the joy of Christmas, so here are some tips to help make your Christmas a little more green!

  1. Plan your Christmas menu: Think of who you are cooking for and what foods they like and dislike. Maybe only half the group like ham but all love stuffing! How many meals will they actually be having in your house? Adjust the shopping list to accommodate this and stick to the list!
  2. Don’t shop tired or hungry! It is too easy to buy too much or easy pre-made options when tired. Pick a time when you know you will not be rushed and will have time to get exactly what is on your list.
  3. Work on portion sizes: Make sure you include 240g of vegetables per person (3 servings), about 200g of potatoes per person and 140-170g of turkey (or preference meat/protein replacement). Go easy on the trimmings, and only cook what you need to.
  4. Be wary of special offers like ‘Buy One Get One Free.’ They can be good value, but often, they can tempt you into buying more than you need or will use.
  5. Buy local: Choosing local food suppliers not only supports Irish but also reduces the transit time of foods. The longer food spends in storage and transit, the higher the chance of it spoiling and becoming waste.
  6. Check labels: Look at use-by and best-before dates and ensure that they work for when you plan to eat them. Store them in order of dates in your fridge and cupboard.
  7. Clear space in your freezer: Use foods in the freezer coming up to Christmas so you will have space to store leftovers.
  8. Serve family-style: Allowing people to serve themselves as opposed to serving meals means that they not only get what they want but it will be easier to store any leftovers from serving dishes.
  9. Plan a few leftover recipes: Leftover vegetables might make great fillings in omelettes for breakfast the next day or tasty vegetable and potato cakes. Turkey and ham might make a great curry or turkey and broccoli bake but also freeze well. Leftover stuffing is delicious in a quiche or mini egg muffins.
  10. Check for any neighbours who might appreciate some leftovers or food: There may be someone alone or isolating who would love some Christmas dinner—and a visit—to enjoy!