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1 week to Christmas – Relax and don’t waste food

by Katja Sreš, Ekologi brez meja

For many people Christmas is synonymous with great food. But it is also a time when lots of food is wasted. How can you reduce your food waste and enjoy a tasty Christmas period?

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We are only a couple of days away from Christmas eve. How are you?


Already experiencing a holiday burn out whilst trying to prepare a perfect experience for your family and guests?


Afraid that you will run out food on the most important family day in the year?


Take a breath, read this article and relax.


Slovenians are kind of obsessed with food. Each time I visit my grandmother the kitchen table almost collapses under the quantity of food. The situation gets even worse during the holidays. My mother for example has started to prepare the Christmas eve menu right after the last candle on the graveyards burnt down (yes, this is another Slovenian obsession which takes place on the All Saint’s Day). However, unfortunately my family is not the only one stressing about holiday food traditions. I developed my personal theory that we are born and raised with the ‘fear of an empty fridge’. We do not even want to think about what guests will think of us if there is no food left after a party. But hey, holidays should be about spending time together not eating and wasting food, right?


As you are probably stressing around about gifts, decoration and other bling-bling stuff you should at least take it easy with the food. In case you did not now – consumers in Europe are wasting the most food on the way from farm to fork and food waste has a significant impact on the environment. Let us not wait for the new year to make our resolutions, Christmas is the perfect start to reduce the amount of food in our waste bins.


Rule number one: planning is everything! During the holiday season some of us want to be ‘creative’ at least once a year and test new recipes. Don’t! Stick to your traditional dishes which have already been ‘approved’ by your family members and cook food that can be stored or reused in case of leftovers. Prepare your menu and a shopping list which is your best friend when rushing through the shopping centres.


Rule number two: stick to the shopping list and buy only what you need and eat. You can apply rule number three when arriving at home. Store your ingredients correctly as fast as possible. On the ‘big’ day be cautious while preparing the dinner – do you really need to cut the potato to a perfect shape? As you have probably guessed, the answer is no.


Last but not least serve smaller portions and in case you have some leftovers despite complying with the above-mentioned rules, store, reuse or donate them. I bet that you know a lonely person in your neighbourhood who would be happy about some home cooked dinner.


If you remember just one thing, remember this: your family and friends will love you despite a little less stuffed kitchen table. Believe me, I would still love my grandmother even if she did not stress about food that much. Maybe even a little more …

“If you remember just one thing, remember this: your family and friends will love you despite a little less stuffed kitchen table”

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Matt Franklin

I am the Communications & Programme Officer for Zero Waste Europe. I joined Zero Waste Europe in July 2015, moving to Manchester, UK after living in Bologna, Italy, and working as a freelance campaign communications consultant. Before Bologna I worked for People & Planet as a Corporate Power Campaigns Co-ordinator, supporting UK student groups campaigning around workers’ rights in the garments and electronics industries. I have been long been involved in grassroots social movements, and campaigns for social and environmental justice. I graduated from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Anthropology and Classical Literature & Civilisations.


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