Updated: Mar 9
5 tips for more sustainable Christmas Fare
Food plays a significant role at Christmas but also has a big impact on climate change. The tips below will help you to reduce your food waste and your climate impact from your Christmas fare.
A special word about Turkey
The good news is that turkey has smaller carbon footprint than other meat (see data below). This is because turkeys do not produce methane and need less food and water than sheep and cows. If you wanted to reduce your carbon footprint without giving up meat then, turkey or chicken are your best options, especially if reared locally and organically.
- Turkey and Chicken (2.3kg CO2 per kg of product)
- Farmed Salmon (4kg CO2 per kg of product)
- Pork (5kg CO2 per kg of meat)
- Beef (15kg CO2 per kg of meat)
- Lamb (20kg CO2 per kg of meat)
(Note: The figures above don’t take into consideration pollution, fertiliser, pesticide and chemical use, processing emissions, food miles, etc.)
Bronze turkeys are generally reared organically and not only have a lower carbon footprint but they taste amazing! Don’t be tempted to buy too big a bird, not only do you risk having too many leftovers, but the bigger the bird the older and tougher it can be. This year I’ve decided to just order a Turkey Crown as we’re not huge turkey fans so I’ll be very happy if it’s all eaten on Christmas Day and I don’t have to deal with any leftovers.
Tip 1 Menu Planning
The first and most important step is to plan your menu ahead of time so you don’t simply end up buying too much food “just in case”.
- Stay out of the shops if you can. I book an online shop to be delivered on the 23rd of December so I stay out of the shops and avoid the infectious Christmas panic!
- Plan your food ahead. I do a menu plan for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St. Stephen’s Day and that helps me to only buy what we will actually eat.
Tip 2 Shopping Sustainably
- Don’t stockpile
- Check your fridge before going shopping
- Don’t go shopping when you are hungry!
- Buy Irish where possible and affordable
- Buy Organic where possible and affordable
- Consider a veg box (e.g. Green Earth Organics)
- Be mindful of use by dates when shopping
- Try to eat less meat if possible
Tip 3 Avoiding Single Use Plastic
- Bring your own shopping and produce bags with you
- Try to buy loose fruit and veg where possible
- Try to choose items packed in cardboard/paper where possible
Tip 4 Cooking Sustainably
- Only cook what will be eaten
- Cover pots with lids to reduce energy use
Tip 5 Reducing Food Waste
- Refrigerate leftovers as soon as possible
- Reuse leftovers – good recipe ideas on BBC Goodfood
- Use glass jars for storing leftover food and ingredients – you can see what you have, you remember to use them and jars also contain smells effectively (e.g. smelly cheese or raw onions).
Finally, enjoy your Christmas celebrations - we all deserve them more than ever!
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