We spend £169 on Christmas food - and throw a third away

Christmas dinnerAP Photo/Matthew Mead

Christmas wouldn't be the same without the festive food with all the trimmings. It's why we spend an astonishing £169 on feeding the family over the Christmas period. However, according to the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, we throw away around a third of that.

So why are we throwing our money away, and what can we do about it?
We throw out the equivalent of 2 million turkeys, 5 million Christmas puddings and 74 million mince pies. That's a staggering quantity of food. And not only is it a shocking level of waste, it's also money that we're scraping into the kitchen bin.

In fact, 230,000 tonnes of festive food worth roughly £275 million gets thrown away across the UK during Christmas.

So we reveal ten great tips to spend less and waste less on festive food.

1. Plan ahead.

There's nothing that's guaranteed to waste more money than dashing into the supermarket in a panic with no idea of what you need and what you already have. Think about the meals you're making, and the portions you're cooking, then write a list and stick to it.

2. Resist temptation.

There's no point having a list if you're going to go off piste every time you see a festive special offer or an intriguing new product.

3. Shop wisely

Keep an eye on use by dates in the supermarket. Find products which will last as long as possible rather than reaching for the first one on the shelf.

4. Stock control

Don't lose track of 'use by' dates when you get home. You need to apply strict stock rotation - and not just leave odd pots of stuff to grow mold at the back of the fridge.

5. Use by

Don't be sniffy about 'best before'. This is a quality thing rather than a safety thing, so the vast majority of things can be eaten after their best before date - as long as the 'use by' hasn't expired. Eggs are the big exception to this rule, and need to be eaten by the first date on the box.

6. Use your freezer.

Check if your food can be frozen, and don't be shy about freezing leftovers that you know you won't get round to eating for a while. All sorts of surprising things can be frozen - from pastry to Stilton, so check and freeze.

7. Don't make too much.

Be ruthless about portion control. It may feel like you're being generous, but there's only so many sprouts a family can eat.

8. Be creative with leftovers.

Christmas may be known for turkey sandwiches and bubble and squeak, but it can also be a time for roast vegetable soup, turkey curry, Christmas pudding ice cream, and a huge variety of other things. If you don't have enough leftovers to make anything sensible, then stash the little you have in the freezer until you have enough for a meal.

9. Freeze ahead.

We throw out a third of the mince pies we buy. So why not make your own, and freeze them before cooking in their trays. Then whenever you want to serve mince pies you can bake only a few at a time, so they never go stale.

10. Clear out the fridge on the 28th.

This doesn't mean throwing everything away because nothing should have been in there for long enough, but you can freeze anything you're not going to get to, and plan what to eat for the next few days.
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