Thanksgiving has an interesting reputation; for as many people view it as an occasion to get the family together, an equal number regard it as an opportunity for gluttony. As a result, the holiday has given rise to certain wasteful practices, from spending a fortune on ingredients to letting leftovers spoil. Today, we’re looking at how you can tackle these issues head-on. Just in time for turkey day, here are five ways to make the holiday more sustainable.
Here are 5 ways to plan a sustainable Thanksgiving meal
Use Local Ingredients
Purchasing goods from local suppliers has a host of benefits. It’s environmentally conscious, for one. For another, it puts your dollar towards supporting your community. Best of all, the products you snag will not only be fresh as can be, but often cost a fraction of what they would at the supermarket. Come Thanksgiving, local farmers can provide all the produce you need. As for the crown jewel, the turkey, consider a bird that’s grass-fed and free-range; in addition to being geared towards sustainability, it will simply taste better.
Less Meat, More Veggies
Meat is delicious. Unfortunately, it’s also pricey, and its production generates a staggering amount of emissions. Luckily, there are plenty of dishes you can throw together without it. You don’t need sausage crumble to make a satisfying stuffing. Try a bite of sweet potato gratin, or a creamy green bean casserole, and you’ll wonder how you ever had Thanksgiving without them. Not to mention there are a plethora of imitation recipes out there for any vegetarians or vegans at your holiday gathering.
Use the Good Plates
Few occasions leave as many dirty dishes as Thanksgiving. Depending on how many mouths you’re feeding, your counter can look like a horror show by dessert. Comparatively, eating off disposable dinnerware might sound like a welcome shortcut. In reality, springing for it is just trading one problem out for another. Rather than crowding your garbage with gravy-stained paper plates and plastic cutlery, stick to your usual dinnerware. If there’s not enough to go around, have your guests bring some along. And if the mess is daunting, ask them to chip in with cleaning; it’s the least they can do for the person that fed them.
Don’t Go Overboard
Maybe you made too much food, or served dishes that some of your guests aren’t fond of. Either way, seeing a Thanksgiving spread go to waste is painful. Thankfully, preventing it is easy as knowing the parameters of your gathering. With the number of attendees in mind, you can adjust portions accordingly. Plus, if you know their tastes, you can tailor the meal to them. This way, your feast will consist of well-loved dishes that are happily torn through, rather than a smorgasbord that’s ultimately left half-finished.
Waste Not, Want Not
Chances are, even if you tailor your feast to the number of participants, you’ll still have leftovers. If you do, there are a few ways to handle them. Obviously, you could treat yourself to Thanksgiving dinner a few nights in a row. If you do, though, you run the risk of getting sick of eating the same meal, and letting the remaining portions rot. Instead, consider reusing those components in creative ways. Instead of a turkey dinner, whip up a sandwich stuffed with meat and cranberry sauce. Leftover stuffing makes a great addition to a breakfast fry-up. And if you don’t have enough fridge space for everything, you can always send your visitors home with a Tupperware container or two.