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It’s almost that time of year again…Christmas carols are on repeat at all of your favourite stores and, as if that wasn’t enough to drive you insane…it’s one week until Christmas day, and you’re still looking for the perfect sized chicken to finish off your food shopping. Christmas planning can be a stressful time for our fellow hosts…with so many different food expectations from your loved ones, it can be tempting to over-buy to try and please everyone.

The problem with this approach is that many of us increase our waste (including all those unwanted leftovers from Christmas lunch) over the festive season by about 30%. Here at Shelley’s Good Eats we understand that it can be difficult to prioritise your family’s food waste during the silly season. So we have come up with four easy tips and tricks to help you and your family reduce your impact, while still enjoying all your favourite holiday foods with your loved ones.

  1. Make friends with your freezer

About 90% of us will ditch over 25% of unwanted food during the festive season. Here at Shelley’s Good Eats we understand the importance of creating a healthy and functional relationship with your freezer in order to reduce your food waste (the glamorous life of a recipe developer). That’s why for tip number one, we want you to utilise your secret food-waste weapon…yep you guessed it, it’s your freezer! So much of the food we waste over the silly season is in edible leftovers (and lots of them!), so we recommend freezing these leftovers in batches. One way to make this easier on yourself is by eating through and cleaning your freezer prior to the big day, so that you’ll have plenty of room for all those delish holiday leftovers when the time comes!

  1. Ain’t no party like a food prep party

Here at Shelley’s Good Eats we believe that preparation is the key to success! We also think that the key to hosting an amazing waste-free Christmas day is through a little bit of planning. Chatting with your guests leading up to the Christmas food shopping helps to know what food (if any!) they are planning to bring along, and therefore, helps you not buy too much. The best tactic here is communicating your goal to your guests and explaining that you don’t want to waste too much food on Christmas day. Most loved ones should be understanding and ready to co-operate! And if you’re stuck for Christmas snacks to make for the big day, check out our favourite Christmas recipes to cook with your kids this silly season.

Ho Ho Ho Christmas cookies

  1. Dust off your Tupperware

Now we understand that there are only so much holiday leftovers you can squeeze into your family’s fridge and freezer. This is why for tip number three, we recommend asking your guests to bring some of their favourite jumbo sized containers as their plus ones to this years Christmas lunch. This way you can be confident that most of the food will be eaten and it takes the pressure off your family in having to eat the same leftover roast chicken, peas and gravy for the next two weeks straight.

  1. Finding creative ways to use up those mountains of leftovers

Sometimes the leftovers we are left with after the big day can be a little random and we don’t want to freeze them in little batches. This gives you the perfect opportunity to put on your creative chefs hat and give these random odds and ends a new lease of life! Think, bubble and squeak, pan curries, quiche/frittatas and creative salads, to treat your taste buds and use up those pesky bits and pieces hanging around after Christmas day lunch.

We hope that using these four methods will help you and your family to have a food-waste free, but more importantly, stress-free holiday season! If you want to read more information about reducing your waste in general during the festive season, click here. Waste, to a certain degree, is largely inevitable…but a little creative planning can go a long way to help reduce your impact and save your family money in discarded Christmas food. And if you’re struggling with the dos and don’ts of recycling this Christmas, check out our recycling how to’s and don’t dos.

We hope that all our readers have a safe, merry and sustainable silly season!

Spicy Christmas tree

Happy holidays from the Shelley’s Good Eats team xx

A bit about the Author

Hi my name is Karly. I am a 3rd year Nutrition student, studying on the beautiful Sunshine Coast. I work as an assistant at Shelley’s Good Eats, in-between my studies. As well as having a passion for all things nutrition, I also have a keen interest in sustainability. In the future, I would love to combine both of my passions and educate people in a dynamic and multifaceted way.