Portioning tips for Christmas

December 12, 2017

Christmas food waste statistics are scary, but portioning properly is a really great way to cut out food waste

It’s thought that UK shoppers will spend a whopping £28.7bn on groceries in the last few weeks of 2017. The amount of food that goes to waste over that period (as exemplified in the carol featured above) suggests that were spending far too much. So what can we do about it?

The two most commonly stated reasons for food waste in the UK are:

  1. Buying more food than can be eaten (and not being able to use it before it becomes inedible)
  2. Cooking, preparing and/or serving more than we can eat

Working out portion sizes before we go shopping, and before we cook and serve food means that there is less opportunity for food to go to waste. if we know how much we need to buy, and how much to serve it helps us to save money and reduce the amount that goes to waste.

With that in mind, we have put together a handy guide to portioning for some commonly wasted Christmas foods. The list is below, but remember this is just a guide and if you know that you’ll need more or less of anything in particular do what suits you best. Having said that, don’t be tempted to fall victim to advertising, peer pressure and special offers designed to make us spend more than we need. work out your portions, make yourself a shopping list and check it twice!

Meat: Turkey, Goose, Duck, Beef, Lamb etc.

Whatever meat you plan to serve on Christmas day, the amount to buy and serve per person will vary depending on if the meat comes on the bone (eg: a whole turkey) or off the bone (eg: a side of beef).

Meat on the bone: 500g – 675g per person

Meat off the bone: 225g – 250g per person


Roast potatoes: 250g per person (this is in addition to the other veg, see below).


Other vegetables: Parsnips, carrots, sprouts, cauliflower cheese etc.

In total, you’ll be looking to serve around about 225g of vegetables in total (whatever the vegetables are) per person.

For example, if you are having three types of veg for Christmas dinner, serve 75g of each vegetable to everyone (3 x 75g = 225g).

Chipolatas in bacon – 2 to 3 per person.

Gravy – 120ml per person

Stuffing balls – 2 to 3 per person

Bread sauce – 75g per person

Cranberry sauce – 50g per person

Christmas pudding – 115g to 150g per person

Alcoholic drinks – Everyone knows their own limits, but if you or your guests are driving please do stay legal.


If you need more help with portioning the website linked below is exceptionally useful: