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21 eco-friendly Christmas tips: Food (11-14)

How to ease off the rampant consumerism without seeming a bit of a Scrooge at Christmas. Our 21 cockle-warming tips for a greener festive season.. Food.

Why not try cutting down (or out) the meat this Christmas – at least for some days of the festive break? According to the Soil Association, “food is the single most important, everyday way for people to reduce their own environmental impact”. Here are some alternative festive food tips to help you shop and cook for an Earth-friendly feast.

11. Vegetarian and vegan recipes

As Benjamin Zephaniah might say, why not be nicer to turkeys at Christmas? And it’s good for you too. Nowadays veggie doesn’t have to mean predictable omelettes, cheese salads or risottos. Or even necessarily the standard nut roast for vegans at Christmas.

Have a look at the Vegetarian Society , Jamie Oliver  or the excellent Vegan Food & Living  for hundreds of fantastic recipes. And there are some extra tasty festive treats on the Vegan Society website  – including vegan brandy butter, and even vegan eggnog.

12. Organic meat

If you can’t get past the meat craving, try choosing planet-friendly organic and free-range, and support greener, small-scale farming wherever possible.

It might be a bit more expensive, but it’s better to buy a bit less of the good stuff than more of the cheap and cheerless intensively-farmed meat. Companies like Riverford Farms  run dependable organic delivery schemes, and they offer seasonal veg, meat and dairy packages.

If you do happen to indulge in seasonal meaty excesses, why not eat less meat after Christmas to make up for it? Eating less but better meat would be a great New Year’s resolution. Read our ideas for making a roast chicken (or turkey) last a week.

And if you want to try to eat less meat all year round, we can help. Sign up to our Let’s Eat Better Pledge and we’ll send you monthly emails with recipes and tips for a more sustainable diet.

13. Cut food waste

When you’re food shopping, try and choose things that are light on packaging, or buy loose items.

And if you end up over-catering, don’t just bin what’s left. Transforming leftovers can be a great way to create new meals, save money and cut waste. Try the BBC Good Food leftovers recipes  for ideas – or challenge your family to suggest recipes with whatever you’ve got in the fridge. Classic winter dishes like turkey pie and bubble and squeak are perfect for making the most of your leftovers, not to mention Brussels sprout curry.

If you have too many leftovers, see what you can freeze. Or why not donate some to an elderly neighbour, local food bank or soup kitchen? Compost any other waste.

For more ideas look at our page on ‘Solving the problem of food waste‘, and also the Love Food Hate Waste  website.

14. Merrier mulled wine

If you’re entertaining friends, mulled wine is a great festive treat – but try and look out for organic and vegan wines for the most sustainable options.


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