Choosing the right foods can help keep a lid on the family budget and prevent excess weight gain this festive season, according to the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA).
DAA spokesperson Milena Katz said: “With time, planning and creativity, hosting Christmas dinner or feeding a house full of visitors doesn’t have to cost a fortune. But it’s best to start early.”
Ms Katz said a recent UK survey found 40 per cent of consumers are more worried this year than they were last year about how they will pay for Christmas. “Before you hit the supermarket, write a shopping list. This will stop you from impulse buying items you don’t need. And remember, it’s usually cheaper to buy in bulk. You can always cook more than you need to have as leftovers for lunch on Boxing Day,’ she said.
DAA’s tips for healthy Christmas eating on a budget:
- Start buying non-perishable items early to spread out the cost. Stock up on items such as cranberry sauce, raw unsalted nuts and low-fat crackers.
- Order turkey or ham in advance and direct from the butcher. Most places will offer a discount if you order and pay early. And try ringing around to find the best bargain.
- If you’re hosting a Christmas lunch or dinner, ask your guests to bring a dish – and set them the challenge of providing a healthy option!
- Use vegetable sticks instead of crackers to serve with dips and reduced fat cheese.
- Try a frozen turkey instead of fresh. These can be a lot cheaper – but make sure to allow plenty of time for it to defrost the whole way through.
- Use leftovers wisely. Keep food cold and you should be able to use leftover cold meats and salads for a few days after Christmas.
- Shop at your local fruit and vegetable markets and take a few friends with you. This way you can buy in bulk and split your purchases before going home.
Check out the Cheap and Cheerful recipes on the DAA website at: www.daa.asn.au