Top tips for reducing food waste this festive season

Throughout the silly season most of us buy, cook, create and consume huge amounts of food! Because of this we can often find ourselves with a mountain of leftover food we need a football team to help us get through.

Research also tells us that New Zealander’s throw away food worth $1.17 billion a year, with the average household wasting approximately $644 a year. This equates to 157,398 million tonnes of food that ends up in landfill.

To think sustainably this Christmas (and avoid ending up with excessive leftovers), we have put together 10 simple tips to help you reduce your food waste this festive season.

1. Have the meal plan for Christmas Day sorted in advance

Write lists, delegate tasks, and work with family and friends so everyone knows what they are bringing and there are no unnecessary overlaps. You could also consider using a Meal Kit option for Christmas Day — this not only stops you from purchasing unnecessary items, but it also saves you having to wrack your brain for the menu, write the list and of course eliminates the big shopping trip!

For further tips on being organised this Christmas, click here to find out how you can combat chaos in the (Christmas) kitchen.

2. Plan your portions

Again all about planning the meal in advance along with knowing the amount of people you are catering for and purchasing the amount based on numbers.

3. Stick to your list when shopping

An easier way to do this is probably to shop online when you cannot be as tempted to grab those extra Christmas treats and food that you don’t need.

4. Compost food scraps

If you don’t already have a compost bin set up at home now is a great time to get this started. If you are tight on room a bokaski bin might suit you best.

5. Store any leftover food in reusable containers

Send them home for your guests to enjoy for Boxing Day lunch! Or freeze anything you won’t be able to get through.

6. Refrigerate leftovers ASAP

Get your leftovers into the fridge as soon as you can after you’ve eaten to avoid the food spoiling. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers within two hours of their preparation.

7. Label leftovers

Label your leftovers with a date on them so you know when you can use by. Leftover food should be used in two days in the fridge and two months in the freezer.

8. Check your thermostat

To avoid food spoiling make sure your fridge and freezer are set to the correct temperature and check regularly that thermostats are working. Love Food Hate Waste states that the best energy saving temperature for your fridge is between 0 and 4 degrees Celsius and between minus 18 degrees Celsius for your freezer.

9. Leftover New Zealand ham?

No worries, check out a few of these scrumptious options — Eggs Benedict with Ham and Easy Hollandaise Sauce, Croque Monsieur or Ham, Pea and Pecorino Risotto.

10. Store New Zealand ham correctly

Make sure you wrap your New Zealand ham (in a damp tea towel) or use a ham bag to keep it from drying out — for more tips on storing your ham click here.

After more ideas on cooking or preparing New Zealand pork? Check out all the recipes on