Families across America waste nearly 25% of all food prepared on Thanksgiving. But just because our country’s Norman Rockwell vision of Thanksgiving involves turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and green beans, it doesn’t mean you’re obligated to make any of those dishes—especially if they’ve gone uneaten before. Consider scaling back to save money, and prevent food from being wasted unnecessarily.
2. Use smaller plates.
Because of the size of some dinner plates, people often take more than they can—or should—eat. By using smaller dinner plates, guests will finish all of their food, and can easily go back for seconds. It’s a good way to cut down on food waste, and an especially good idea for kids, who may take two bites of stuffing before abandoning the dinner table to go play with their cousins.
3. Know how to talk turkey.
The greenest turkey is always an organically-raised bird from a local farm, but if you’re purchasing your bird from the supermarket, know the difference between common phrases on the label, like “natural,” “organic,” “heritage,” and “free-range.” Learn how to decode your poultry label here.
4. Buy seasonal and local.
Go to the nearest farmer’s market to stock up on tasty seasonal and local produce for your feast. Don’t balk at the price of organic produce—instead, purchase organic items only where it counts. Apples, celery, grapes, lettuce, pears, potatoes, and spinach are some Thanksgiving produce items most likely to transmit pesticides to you. But if asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, corn, eggplant, peas, or onions show up in any of your recipes, it’s OK to get these conventionally grown.
5. For decorations, DIY.
It’s easy to make Thanksgiving decorations green—look no further than your supermarket or backyard. For centerpieces and table settings, gather natural materials such as branches, gourds, pinecones and beautiful autumn leaves. Not only will it create less waste, but you’ll also have fewer items to store, since everything is disposable and biodegradable.
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