How to Save Money on Food Over the Holidays, According to Celeb Chefs

Even celebrity chefs can think frugally. At the recent Celebrity Chef Golf Tournament, chefs Geoffrey Zakarian, Michael Symon, and Daniel Boulud shared tips for saving money on groceries and hosted holiday dinners.

Buy smaller protein portions

It’s easy to overspend on animal protein because it’s priced by weight. To spend less, think smaller: Instead of an 8-ounce piece of protein, eat a 4- or 5-ounce piece, suggests Zakarian, who owns several restaurants, holds the title of “Iron Chef” and stars on Food Network shows including “Chopped” and “The Kitchen.”

“It’s about portion control,” he adds. And a 4- or 5-ounce portion is often enough to fill you up.

Get creative with leftovers

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, nearly three times as much food is thrown out than during the rest of the year. Last year, an estimated 204 million pounds of turkey meat was thrown out over the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.

To make every penny in your holiday food budget count, Symon suggests you get creative about your dishes: “When you think about any protein or a dish, think about the secondary use for that dish so that you can use it continually.”

Combine leftover sweet potatoes and turkey with eggs, for example, and you’ve got a delicious turkey hash for breakfast, he says. Another strategy is to make family-style portions of Italian food for your guests. Guests will just dish out what they can consume, and you should have plenty of leftovers to pack up that only require a quick reheating.

Cook at home more

“Learn how to cook. Buy some good cookbooks from chefs who will teach you to not make food waste,” says Daniel Boulud, owner of seven restaurants in New York City, including the Michelin-starred Daniel. “When you’re making delicious food you save money, but you also feel better.”

By Sofia Pitt

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