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Catherine Fulvio's Seven Secrets to Stop Festive Food Waste at Christmas.


Food waste hits all of us in the pocket, with the average family throwing out €700 worth of food per annum. Christmas can be a time that we throw out a large quantity of expensive foods! Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Laois County Council and seven other Local Authorities have linked up with Catherine Fulvio to explore how we can avoid food waste in the coming weeks.  

Catherine Fulvio is delighted to share her Seven Secrets to Stop Festive Food Waste at Christmas.


Secret No. 1 Plan Ahead

Planning your Christmas Feast will save you time and money.  First of all consider how many people are coming? What are your favourite foods? Is there a food item that does not get eaten each year? From here, build your menu, decide your recipes and write shopping lists. It is the season for temptation in the shops, so stick to your list! Remember there is no need to over shop for essentials like milk and bread. Shops reopen quickly.

Secret No. 2 Organise Storage

Organise storage for all the extra food in the house. Sort out your fridge using up contents to make space for the extra volume Christmas Week. Check what you have in stock before shopping. The golden rule is old to the front – new to the back to ensure everything gets used up within date. Make sure expensive perishable items don’t get pushed to the back, keep them in view, keep items dated if removing packaging (some packaging can help to keep the food fresher for longer so avoid if possible). Veg in bottom drawer and meats always in sealed containers. Don’t forget you need space for leftovers after the big meal on Christmas day.

Secret No. 3 Portion Control

Serving dishes can be used to avoid too much waste on the plate though care will be needed sharing serving dishes this year with guests.  More attention to asking people what they want on their plate will help.  Starters should be light and small for  a big meal like Christmas. Avoid bread with the starter.  Encourage seconds rather than putting out big portions to start with. Have Tupperware or storage ready to go so leftovers can move straight to the fridge after the meal.

Secret No. 4 Use Leftovers

Local authorities working with the Stop Food Waste Challenge have produced the 12 Days of Christmas  recipe booklet with ideas for using up some of the leftovers.  Get creative. Turkey can be used in a versatile range of dishes from risotto to salads so no need to stick with the traditional sambo. Mashed potatoes and smoked salmon patties or smoked salmon in scrambled eggs make a great breakfast for Stephens Day. Have you tried cranberry sauce with jam on pancakes? Check out  for more information. Download your free copy of the twelve days of Christmas at the bottom of this page under related documents.   

Secret No. 5 Use the Freezer

The golden rule of freezing is to portion it, label it and date it.  Give yourself a cut off point, two days,  after which any remaining leftovers will go from fridge to freezer. Nobody wants to keep eating it day after day. You can freeze individual dinner portions. You can make a batch of curry too.

Secret No. 6 Get Creative with Desserts

The left over desserts such as pudding or mince pies can seem unappetizing after the big event but there are recipes which can help to give them a transformation. Get the desserts used up. There will be time in the New Year to start a health kick. The days between Christmas can be great to get out for a good walk with family.

Secret No. 7 New Year’s Resolution

€700 in cash is the potential gain for avoided food waste.  Let your new year’s resolution be to cut back on your food waste in 2022… And SAVE up to €700! With a few simple changes, you can significantly reduce the amount of food discarded in your home. Plan your meals for the week. Check what you already have in the fridge and cupboard and write your shopping list.  Stick to it!  You’ll be amazed at how much you save each week . Get into the habit of noting what foods are  going into the brown bin as it will help you figure out what’s wasted weekly and what you can buy less of next week.


Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Laois County Council and seven other Local Authorities have linked up with Catherine Fulvio to explore how we can avoid food waste in the coming weeks. A joint education and awareness social media campaign will take place across all nine Local Authorities over the holiday period.


Christmas Festive Food Tips and Menus for Leftovers