Wednesday, 24 December 2014
Christmas is almost here and many of us have already made plans and preparations for the upcoming holidays.
But how many of us actually take the time to look at a budget so we don’t start the New Year with a bin full of wasted food and debt?
Cancer Council WA’s Nutrition Literacy Coordinator, Sarah Moore, says a few minutes of planning can make a big difference to how much you spend and waste over the festive season.
“You can save money to enjoy Christmas dinner and still have a delicious menu with all the trimmings,” Ms Moore said.
“The problem is, we eat too much, we make unhealthy choices, we buy too much food, we buy expensive food, and lots end up in the bin or on our waistlines.”
“The good news is there are some easy tips to avoid another Christmas of wasted food and ballooning credit card debt,” she said.
1. Think back to last year. What foods were wasted? Try to avoid the same mistakes.
2. Make a plan. Write out the meals and snacks you will need over the Christmas period and note how many people for each. Make a note of your must haves and then make sure there are plenty of fruit and veg based appetisers, side dishes and snacks.
3. Get everyone involved. Ask guests to bring a plate to contribute, but keep it small. With lots of dishes at a meal each guest only needs a taste.
4. Decide on food a budget and stick to it. Prioritise items on the plan to only include those that fit the budget.
5. Resist the easy options. Ready-made desserts, platters and salads seem convenient but are much more expensive than making them yourself. Plus, you will be able to use better quality ingredients for more flavour and less added fat, salt, and/or sugar.
6. Choose one meat. Having more than one type of meat in a meal is not necessary. Plus a serve of meat is only 100g (raw) per person. Ask your butcher to portion a joint or a boned joint for you so you only buy what you need.
7. Make the vegies the star of the meal for a change.
8. Open the fridge and pantry first. See what you already have before you head to the shops. You might have similar foods that can be easily substituted into your favourite Christmas recipes.
9. Plate up in the kitchen. To avoid unnecessary picking from the table and stick to small serves, you can always get up to get seconds if needed. This also means that food can be stored in the fridge or (in eskies on ice if space is tight) to avoid spoiling.
10. Use your leftovers. Make the most of your leftovers by turning them into healthy post-Christmas meals instead of just picking at them throughout the day. Ask your guests to bring containers to take leftovers away with them.