The holiday season is upon us, but as we prepare for the hustle and bustle of Christmas festivities, it doesn’t need to be an extravagant affair. Regardless of your budget, there are many ways you can provide a delicious, healthy and plentiful feast without compromising on quality, flavour or variety.
The best get-togethers have fresh, yet delicious, food options that taste great and make you feel good after eating them without the worry of sending your blood glucose levels sky-rocketing. After all, the festive season is all about feeling good, spending time with friends and family, making memories and sharing in the wonderful spirit of giving.
There’s no question that Christmas can be an expensive time of year and many of us will be looking for ways to save this season. Try these tips from taste.com.au for making your Christmas feast feel special without breaking the bank.
Don’t pick what you want to have for Christmas lunch or dinner and plan from there. Start by determining your budget then work out what you’ll make and serve on the day. It is possible to make really great food even on the tightest budget; it just takes a bit more pre-planning, careful sourcing, and often a bit of creativity and thinking outside the square.
Traditional roasts, such as turkey or ham, can be extra pricey around the holidays. Even a roast chicken, with thoughtfully prepared sides and extras such as homemade sauces and stuffing, can still be turned into an excitingly special meal with a bit of care. A leg of lamb on the barbecue is also delicious, goes far, and may be more affordable at your local butcher at this time of year.
Splash out on one big-ticket item
Alternatively, buy that organic, glazed ham from the premium butcher or the sparkling fresh oysters and seafood from your city’s best fishmonger, and make that your centrepiece. Starters, sides, and dessert can then all be chosen according to what is affordable or on special and your spread will still feel decadent. Think roast veggies, potato salad, couscous salad, green beans, homemade dips, and fresh fruit and ice cream or homemade trifle for dessert.
Go bargain hunting
Consumers aren’t the only ones doing it a bit tough this year. Sadly, some retailers are also struggling but this means there are plenty of specials around if you seek them out. Shop around, both online and off, in advance and you’re likely to find big discounts on both the basics and those gourmet items that can quickly unbalance your budget.
Cut costs on drinks
Alcohol is considered by most to be an essential part of the festivities but can easily spiral your budget out of control. Plan ahead and look for discounted cases and specials and also make what you have go further with mixed drinks such as summery punches and sangria or mulled wine. Or go alcohol free and serve delicious mocktails.
Take stock of your pantry
Many of us have pantries and cupboards stuffed with cans, bags and boxes languishing unused. Before you even begin planning your Christmas meal, work out what you already have that can be put to good use.