Olive Magazine

Minimal-waste Christmas dinner calculator

Published: December 6, 2019 at 11:28 am

Check out our useful tips and tricks to cut festive food waste, including our Christmas dinner calculator and time planner, plus ways to use your leftovers

Household waste increases by 30% over the festive period, and while it’s challenging to have an entirely waste-free Christmas, there are many ways in which we can drastically cut down – all it takes is some clever planning and a creative approach to ingredients.


Use our Christmas dinner calculator

By following these (rough) guidelines you should end up with a full table and some leftovers but nothing wasted.

Turkey: 500g per person – this will allow plenty on the day as well as lots for sarnies and left-over recipes.

Christmas Turkey Recipe

Potatoes: 11⁄2 large potatoes per person will divide into six roasties – which leaves plenty for leftovers such as bubble and squeak.

Christmas Roast Potato Recipe

Vegetables: 400g per person.

Christmas Vegetable Recipe

Stuffing: 150g per person.

Christmas Stuffing Recipe

Gravy: 250ml per person.

Christmas Gravy Recipe

Don't waste your turkey

Cooking a huge, expensive turkey for a lot of people can be a daunting task. Up to a third of turkeys don’t even make it to the table due to undercooking, and many of the ones that do are so overdone that most of the bird is thrown away after the meal. Avoid disaster by writing and following a strict plan on the day, or use our turkey guide and Christmas time planner to ensure everything is cooked perfectly, on time.

Christmas Time Planner

With our quick and easy guide you can cook the perfect turkey this Christmas, plus discover our best turkey recipes here, too...

Turkey Cook Opener

Only buy what you need for Christmas

It’s easier said than done, but stick to your shopping list! Christmas is a time of excess and supermarkets like to encourage us to buy more than we need with two-for-one and multi-pack deals. It may be better value to buy the 1.5kg bag of carrots, but if you only need three or four then there is far more chance of them going to waste. Panic buying is a real problem over Christmas, but keep calm and think: do I really need this? Where possible, buy loose vegetables from supermarkets, greengrocers or markets so you can buy exactly what you need. It may seem obvious but also look for the longest use-by dates you can find. You’d hate to throw something away that would have been eaten just because it goes out of date on Boxing Day.

Box of fresh seasonal vegetable, St.Brides Spa Hotel, Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

Make the most of your freezer over Christmas

Having the freezer stocked with items such as pre-made canapés, bulkers like garlic bread and puddings will mean you can easily whip things out for an easy meal or feed unexpected guests at the last minute. Having these bits frozen will also keep them from going off and save you valuable fridge space. Get in lots of storage containers and reusable freezer bags as well as labels so you know exactly what everything is and when it was frozen. Any food that is fully cooked and cooled properly will keep for up to six months in the freezer (check your freezer capabilities for ideal freezing times) – turkey curry in June, anyone?

Discover our guide to freezing at home here...

Choose your Christmas dinner wisely

Do you actually like sprouts? Or turkey? Cut down on unwanted leftovers by changing traditions you’re less keen on, whether that’s swapping turkey for rib of beef, sprouts for pak choi or carrots for kale.

Prime Rib with Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

Make the most of leftovers

For us at olive many of the joys of Christmas come from the leftovers – turkey sarnies and bubble and squeak are almost better than the Christmas feast itself. Discover our huge collection of leftover recipes that will inspire you to use every last morsel of left-over food. As a general rule, any cooked food that has been cooled properly, packaged and chilled within two hours of cooking will then have a further shelf life of three days.

Christmas Toastie Recipe

Use up your Christmas leftovers in our quick and easy recipe using up leftover vegetables and vegetable peelings, plus we've got a wholesome way to use up leftover turkey too...

Homemade Vegetable Crisps Recipe

Turkey ramen recipe

Turkey Ramen Recipe with Noodles

Cut down on plastic

As well as being known for its excessive food consumption, Christmas is also a period of the year where plastic use surges. Here are some handy tips to keep your waste to a minimum.

• Bring your own bags to the supermarket, butcher or greengrocer to reduce unnecessary plastic use. Where possible, buy loose fruit and vegetables, grains, pulses and household items in refillable, reuseable containers.

• At home, use beeswax paper (see below) to wrap up food instead of clingfilm, or use sealable containers to keep things fresh in the fridge.

• If you’re off to stay with friends or relatives or renting a holiday home over Christmas, have a look online for the local council’s recycling guidelines on what they do or do not recycle and in what condition they need to be received. This way you can try to keep as much as possible from going to the landfill.

• Look out for bio-plastics if you are buying plastic – these are made from renewable biomass sources and under the right conditions are able to completely decompose.

Filled plastic containers on wooden background

Affordable alternative to playact clingfilm and plastic zip-lock bags

Bee Green Wraps are made from organic cotton infused with a blend of beeswax, tree resin and certified organic jojoba oil. Mouldable, durable, water-resistant, compostable and, most importantly, reusable, they make the perfect alternative to clingfilm when wrapping and storing food. This family pack contains four wraps in small, medium, large and XL sizes, and as an exclusive offer, olive readers can order another medium wrap at no extra charge (enter code below at checkout).

JUST £25.49 INC P&P

HOW TO ORDER: Visitbeegreenwraps.co.uk and quote BGWOLZ2B3 at checkout to receive the free wrap.

Bee Green Wraps

Offer closes 31 December 2019. One use per customer with a maximum of five family starter packs and five free medium packs per order.

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