For many who celebrate Christmas, food is one of the things we most look forward to. Who could say no to mince pies, roast potatoes and endless supplies of chocolate? However, nearly three quarters of us will struggle to eat all of the food bought over the festive season. Across the UK an estimated 2 million turkeys and 74 million mince pies will be binned, costing us money and harming the environment. In the UK an average household will waste over £70 worth of food in one month alone.

Minimising food waste during the festive season doesn't have to be a chore. With a pinch of planning and a dollop of enthusiasm, Christmas can cost less and leave you plenty of time for festive TV and mince pies.

1) Tis the season

Seasonal veg is often cheaper and easier to find. Check out the BBC’s easy to use recipe portal, showing what’s in season and giving you creative ways to cook them up. If you have a farmers’ market nearby, head there for locally grown produce. Winter vegetables aren’t just limited to parsnips, turnips and potatoes. You can find colourful butternut squashes, versatile cauliflower, leeks, beetroot and kale. Something for everyone! Kale yeah!

2) Meal planning

We’re all guilty of last minute panic buying, in order to feed what we fear will be an endless stream of festive appetites. More often than not we end up with more than we need. Whether you put pen to paper or create a colour-coded spreadsheet, plan ahead and only buy enough food for meals you’ll be cooking and the guests that will be there. Freezable back-ups will prepare you for unexpected guests. Check in advance when your local shops are closed over Christmas and if you want to take it one step further, download a meal planning app, such as Mealime, to do the work for you.

3) The big freeze

During the holidays, your freezer will become your greatest asset. By freezing leftovers and excess food, you’ll avoid the endless turkey sandwiches after Boxing Day. Get creative with what’s left, making curries, stews and anything else that takes your fancy. You can even freeze vegetable peels and use turkey bones for stock that will last you all year round. Remember to clear out your freezer before Christmas and check to see if anything in there can be used, saving you time and money. 
Watch our #FestiveFreeze vlog to hear the truth behind 5 common freezer myths. You can freeze almost anything, including cheese and eggs. Here’s the full list of freezable foods, you might be surprised!


4) Share the load

As it’s the season of giving, why not make the most of your loved ones’ generosity. Ask family and friends to contribute to dinner and then offload some of the leftovers in return. If there’s still too much food to handle, why not share it with friends and neighbours? 81% of people say they'd be happy to receive food from a neighbour. Share the neighbourly love, or try out apps, such as OLIO, to share food with those nearby.

5) The gift that keeps on giving

Turn your leftover and unused veg into an array of Christmas presents. To transform your old cabbage into a glorious gift, all you’ll need is a few spices, some salt and an empty jar. Kimchi is the new black, make the most of it. If fermenting isn't your thing, why not try preserving fruit, in a chutney or jam? You’ll never be in a present pickle again!

For more information about how you can save money and food, follow us on Twitter for our #SavvyChristmas advent calendar or find out more at foodsavvy.org.uk.