Is it time we considered a non-traditional Christmas lunch?
FOOD & DRINK | December 1, 2018

Is it time we considered a non-traditional Christmas lunch?

Christmas! It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but also our most wasteful. Each year, British households bin a staggering amount of leftover festive food, all perfectly edible, mainly because a lot of us don’t really enjoy the standard fare.

Try to bend your brain around this amount of food waste...

  • 17.2m Brussels sprouts

  • 11.9m carrots

  • 11.3m roast potatoes

  • 10.9m parsnips

  • 9.8m cups of gravy

  • 7.9m slices of turkey

  • 7.9m cups of stuffing

  • 7.1m pigs in blankets

These groceries cost households around £64 million pounds, and they’re ending up in the rubbish!

The almost unbelievable water footprint of Christmas food waste

All this wasted food has a hidden cost as well: the amount of fresh water that was used in raising the produce from field to plate, also known as a ‘water footprint’.

Doing the sums on the shocking figures above, we worked out that our British Christmas food waste is costing the world almost 8.5 billion litres of fresh water. That mindbogglingly big number represents enough water to fill the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park 23 times over or an Olympic swimming pool more than 3,300 times over, and we haven’t even factored in pudding!

Three tips to make Christmas lunch work for your family… and cut food waste!

1. Don’t buy for old time’s sake – create your own Christmas traditions

Do you always end up with three-quarters of a sad looking Christmas pud left over, because no one really likes it? Do you hate cooking that ham or feel apathetic over sugared almonds?

Ditch the standard Christmas shopping list for treats the family will fight over. After all, the important thing is to spend time eating together – who cares if Christmas lunch is a baked fish with cheesecake for afters? Or a festive red Thai curry followed by banana splits?!

2. Try a vegetarian Christmas or go half-and-half

Meat products are hugely water intensive to produce, so if you’re not big fans of the usual roast and struggle to eat up all the meaty leftovers, why not change things up this year with a spectacular vegetarian Wellington or vegan roast centrepiece with all the trimmings?

Can’t say goodbye to meat completely? Go half-and-half: perhaps a small turkey and a complementary veggie dish, such as these vegan tarte tatins.

3. Don’t let eyes get too big for stomachs

If you’re in charge of Christmas lunch, allow folks to serve themselves so they can do their own portion control and avoid anything they dislike.

Untouched cooked food is much more likely to get reused in other meals than food that’s been pushed around someone’s plate. Encourage people to start with a standard amount – not loading up plates until the gravy sloshes over the side – and to go back to the serving dishes if for seconds if they want them.

What will you be eating this Christmas? A traditional meal or something more to your taste to avoid food waste? Share your plans with Greenredeem on Facebook or Twitter.

>> Seven wildlife-friendly kitchen sink habits to adopt today

>> Makeover your leftovers from humble to fabulous