It may still seem like a distant, tinsel-covered mirage, but Christmas really is coming, and now is the perfect time to start planning your menu for the festive celebrations. As well as the fact that you’re going to feel super smug when you see your friends rushing about like maniacs trying to organize the food a week before the big day, thinking about your Christmas Day meal now means that you’re more likely to be able to organize exactly the feast you want, with less stress.
Use the guide below to get cracking now on putting together your holiday menu to get ahead of the festive frenzy.
Grab the Best Deals (And Delivery Slots)
One of the best reasons for planning your Christmas meal menu as early as possible is to make sure you can reserve a delivery slot on the day and time that’s most convenient to you. These slots can go extremely quickly, especially the ones on the few days leading up to Christmas Day itself – sometimes almost as soon as they’re released, so check your food delivery provider to find out when their festive delivery times will be available to book (some may already be open) and grab one as soon as you can.
Booking your food delivery early can also mean that you can take advantage of any relevant early bird offers and opportunities for multi-buy discounts before they sell out. Some popular items, like turkey, goose, and large joints of gammon, may need to be pre-ordered before a certain date to guarantee availability, so this is another great reason to plan your meal as early as possible.
Love For the Leftovers
The importance of reducing waste, including food waste, is something that we are all becoming more aware of. The Christmas period can easily generate a substantial amount of food waste, as it’s seen as a time to make merry and indulge. And there is nothing wrong with that – but scraping piles of food into the bin or compost pile afterward can feel a bit icky. Planning your meals over the festive season early can make a big difference to the amount of food waste you’re likely to generate over Christmas.
Meal planning allows you to think about meals with a view to the best use of leftovers. For example, suppose you’ve decided to prepare a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings for the big day itself. In that case, you could plan to have a cheese-topped vegetable bake to use up all the greens, sprouts, and stuffing for lunch on Boxing Day and a turkey curry for dinner. Leftover roast potatoes and cabbage can make for a great bubble and squeak, too.
Risotto is a good way to use up any remaining meat and onions – leftover cheese can be grated into this dish a few minutes before serving, too, for a comforting, creamy consistency. Click here for more ideas on how to use up leftovers, and the benefits of meal planning, to make this Christmas a deliciously waste-free one.
Special Dietary Requirements
Thinking about your meal planning early will help with making provisions for those who may have special dietary requirements. If you have guests joining you, make sure you’re aware of any allergies they may have, for example, so that you can incorporate these needs into your meal scheduling. Consider, too, whether there will be anyone attending who follows a vegetarian or vegan diet; where this is the case, you have two options: you can plan a totally vegetarian or vegan meal, such as a mushroom and sweet potato wellington, or you could have meat and veggie/vegan choices together on the table.
If you are thinking about having meal kits delivered to use over the Christmas period, then it’s worth bearing in mind that many of these providers offer a range of vegetarian and vegan options, as well as choices tailored to diabetics or those on other specialist diets, which can make your festive menu planning run all the smoother.
Time To Practice
One of the best reasons to start thinking about your eating plans for the holidays is so that you can get in some vital practice if you’re considering making one or more dishes that you’ve never attempted before! Having a few practice runs before the main event is the best way to stress less on the big day and make any adjustments to the recipe or ingredient quantities in good time. This will also mean that you’ll be completely au fait with preparation and cooking timings when it comes to doing it for real.
Planning your festive menu now allows you to start stocking up on the non-perishables that you’ll need for your meals over the holidays. Store cupboard items like stock cubes, condiments, stuffing mixes, oils, and biscuits are just a few of the items that can be bought well ahead of time to get ahead of the Christmas game. Many kinds of cheese and most chocolates have a long shelf life, too…but you’ll need to judge your ability to resist eating these items before the holidays come around!
Planning out your Christmas meal menu now means that you’ll be able to stock up on as many items as possible early to save getting caught up in the festive frenzy of mid-December. Enjoy the build-up to the celebrations knowing that you’ve got your food delivery sorted, that everyone is catered for and that you’ll be saving both in terms of food waste and money. So as well as planning out your meals, maybe you could start planning out your wish-list for the January sales, too…