There’s lots to think about in preparation for Christmas and we’re sure – like us – food is at the top of your list. The festive feast is a time to enjoy delicious food with loved ones but it’s also a time we overindulge and create a lot of waste.

Research shows we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drink from our homes every year in the UK, and more than half of this is food and drink we could have consumed. That means we can all do our bit to help cut waste and make changes for the better.

Below we’ve shared some top tips to help you have a more sustainable, yet equally enjoyable Christmas dinner with all the trimmings:

Plan ahead

When planning your food for the festive season, think carefully about how many people you’re going to be catering for and what you already have at home before piling up the shopping trolley with all those tempting special offers.It’s all about portion control. Not everyone likes sprouts. Check out this handy guide from Love Food Hate Waste for portion planning.

If you’ve got a house full of people, it’s a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and use up those ingredients at the back of the cupboard which you’ve forgotten all about.

Buy seasonal and local

Instead of joining the queues of people, crowded car parks and agitated aisles of trolleys in your nearest supermarket, why not check out what local businesses are offering in your neighbourhood?

Buy your turkey from your local butcher and stock up on veggies from your nearest farmer’s market – it will help support local businesses and also reduce travel miles. If you have your own home-grown vegetable patch, even better!If you’re not sure what’s in season when, Kitchup user Pollen and Grace feature a seasonal ingredient each week with recipe ideas. For December: think cranberries, chestnuts and the infamous brussel sprouts.

clementines  farmers market

Waste less, save more money

Food waste is not only bad for the environment; it is also a drain on our wallets. The cost of food waste to an average household is estimated to be £470 per year, rising to £700 for a family with children.

As mentioned above, planning ahead and making more use of what you’ve got can help cut waste. Storying your food in the right way can help it stay fresh for longer. Some food waste is inevitable such as egg shells, banana skins and tea bags – home composting can be a great way to reduce the amount of this waste that ends up in landfill and also benefit your garden. You may live in an area that has a local food waste recycling collection service. Visit Recycle Now to find out what recycling services are in your area and tips on composting.

Don’t forget the leftovers

Last but certainty not least, the leftovers. Reinventing meals with leftovers is a great way to save money and cut waste. Think winter soups and healthy smoothies to help kick-start your Christmas detox and use up that leftover fruit and veg.

And remember – the freezer is your friend. If you find yourself with too much food or don’t want more of the same, see what you can freeze and save for a later date.

A few small adjustments can make a big difference, so have a think about what changes you can make this Christmas and take with you into the new year.

Do you have any tips for a more sustainable Christmas? Share your thoughts with us on Twitter @KitchupUK.