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A Sustainable Thanksgiving: How To Reduce Your Thanksgiving Food Waste

Ahh yes, the sweet smell of Fall is here. You know what that means…Thanksgiving and the yummy aromas of mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie are all right around the corner! The meal prep, the grocery shopping, the working all day in the kitchen…all of that can pay off for a great Thanksgiving meal. The downside? That dreaded chore at the end of the night of piling up the refrigerator with all those leftovers in containers that might never be opened again – at least until it’s time to toss out spoiled and wasted food.

There are plenty of ways to avoid all that food waste on this day of giving, while still enjoying one of the most beloved meals of the year! EarthHero is committed to helping you and your family prepare for this Thanksgiving with all of our eco-friendly food prep tips. Read on to learn more!

Cook the right amount of food

Thanksgiving food waste

One thing to consider this year in particular is that Thanksgiving gatherings might be a lot smaller for you and your family. Whether you choose to do a completely virtual Thanksgiving, or just limit your guests, you probably won’t be needing to prepare as much food as you have in past years. A good rule of thumb is to consider each person who is attending your Thanksgiving dinner and how much they usually eat on Thanksgiving. Not everyone ends up eating that third helping. Reducing the amount of food you prepare not only helps significantly decrease the amount of food waste created on Thanksgiving, but will also reduce your grocery bill!

Something else you can do to reduce food waste? Consider which dishes your guests typically end up eating. There is always that one dish that only one person in the family seems to like…and one that guests tend to ignore. If this sounds like your family, consider preparing a smaller portion of the less popular dishes. Everyone wins! Smaller portions mean less waste, but Uncle Bob will still get to enjoy his Thanksgiving favorites. 

Thanksgiving food waste

Finally, if you’re food prepping and looking for a sustainable place to toss those vegetable peels, there’s the tried-and-true composting method. Sometimes we can’t use all parts of our ingredients, but there’s a way to dispose of them that’s kinder to our planet!

If you can, share or donate your leftovers

It may not be possible to cook exactly the right amount of food. And when we do have leftovers, they’re often put in the fridge for a few more days before then being thrown out. If you’re not the kind of person who loves a good Thanksgiving turkey sandwich the day after, make sure your leftovers don’t go to waste! A great way to do this is to look up your nearest homeless shelter and donate your food. The holidays can be especially lonely for some, so a good home-cooked meal donated to someone in need can really make a difference!

Use local and sustainable ingredients and products

It’s never too late to try something new! This year, try buying only locally grown ingredients for your Thanksgiving feast. Not only will you be supporting your local businesses and farms, but you can know exactly how and where your ingredients were grown. Fresh always tastes better, and is more sustainable! 

And going for the plant based meat trend this year? Eating more plant-based ingredients can reduce carbon emissions. Try making your own plant-based meals this Thanksgiving with some locally sourced, plant-based ingredients!

It’s all about the food storage

Thanksgiving food waste

At the end of the night, if you do have leftovers that you have to keep at home, it’s all about how you store them! Got some leftover fresh veggies? Try Vejibag, which is specially designed to keep vegetables fresher, longer. And for those hot dishes that you’re putting in the refrigerator, use storage containers that are sustainably made, with transparent lids or tubs so you can better see what’s going on in those containers (or try these lids to put on top of bowls you have at home!). This will help remind you to go back for those leftovers! And for those dishes you want to put in the freezer, go for an eco-friendly, silicone Stasher bag to safely keep your food for weeks.

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude – and that extends to our gratitude for the planet! The choices we make this holiday season can make a difference, and can make the celebrations that much more meaningful. We’re thankful for all of you for taking your own personal sustainability journey!

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