#1 Christmas Pot-luck dinner
When you add up the costs for a starter, main, dessert and booze it can quickly spiral out of hand. If friends or family are coming to your house, ask them to bring a plate to share, like a starter, some sides, or a desert, and their own drinks. This will help split the costs and the ease the workload as well as pressure in the kitchen!
#2 Replace traditional meats with less expensive alternatives
Traditional meats such as turkey or glazed ham can be very expensive. Why not go for something a little cheaper such as roast chicken with some homemade sauces and stuffing, or some oyster blade steak that can be marinated and turned into a stuffed roast. There are also cheaper meat-free options available such as a nut-roast!
#3 Choose vegetables that are in season or buy frozen or canned vegetables
Shape your Christmas dinner around traditional veggies that are in-season during December as they are often cheaper. These include; green beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and peas.
Frozen or canned veggies can be cheaper than fresh. They are equally nutritious, and really convenient, with long shelf lives if stored correctly, not to mention fast to cook. Just watch out for added Sodium (salt) in canned vegetables and chose low salt varieties. For frozen vegetables choose one without sauces and seasonings which can contain excess salt and hidden kilojoules.
#4 Offer low or no-alcohol fruit based drinks (e.g. iced tea, flavoured water)
Alcohol can easily spiral your budget out of control. Swapping to non-alcoholic fruit based drinks (e.g. iced tea, flavoured water) will not only save you money but will also support the people who have to drive home. Check out our iced fruit tea recipe here.
#5 Plan ahead and take stock of your pantry
Before you start planning your Christmas meal, work out what you already have that can be put to good use. Check your pantry for canned veggies, herbs, spices and seasonings to accompany the Christmas dinner or for use in home-made sauces.
Also think about your budget and how much you would like to spend on Christmas dinner and then work out what you will serve on the day. With some pre-planning and careful sourcing you can make really great food on a tight budget.
#6 Bulk up meals with salads and sides
An Australian Christmas is usually a hot and sticky affair, with the oven blazing and temperatures soaring outside. A cool salad is the perfect side in sweltering conditions. Remember to serve it straight from the fridge. Rather than filling up your guests with expensive sides and nibbles, try a big salad bowl with potato or rice filling and add cherry tomatoes, celery and other veggies for Christmas colour. For some inspiration on salad recipes click here.
#7 Use up your leftovers
There are often leftovers at Christmas so prevent food waste by using up the leftover food. Re-use the turkey or chicken in a delicious boxing day curry, or chop and mix into mashed potato and turn into patties or use some of the leftover veggies in a frittata