Thanksgiving is next week and we’re just as excited as you are! This season of gathering near to the ones we love, sharing traditions, and celebrating another year come and gone means a lot to us. The holiday season should be a time of giving and sharing, but that sometimes translates to excess and waste. There are ways to make Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday gatherings to come a little bit greener and brighter this year. As you prepare to host, cook, or be a happy guest, keep these green Thanksgiving tips in mind.
Serve from the Local Bounty
When shopping for the big meal next week, try to prioritize purchasing locally grown produce and meat before heading to the grocery store. While an organic, free-range, naturally fed bird would be the crème de la crème in green Thanksgiving bounty, this may not necessarily be the most budget-friendly option for everyone. Thankfully, there are many options for the kind of poultry (or other meat) you can purchase, and prices can be surprisingly competitive. Keep a lookout for local farms offering Thanksgiving produce boxes, do a quick search for local meat farms offering fresh poultry. You may be surprised to find that the star of your Thanksgiving feast could be cheaper than you think, and not that far away.
Think seasonally as you supplement your menu at your local grocery store. Consider apples, collards, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli for major additions to your side dishes. There are plenty of simple, delicious recipes to help incorporate them into your menu!
Consider wisely your offering
Studies have shown that nearly 25% of the food Americans serve on Thanksgiving will be wasted. In a world where we know many of our neighbors regularly go hungry, this is an incredible and embarrassing number. To make sure that you don’t contribute to the food waste of the holiday, plan your meal to have plenty and enough for leftovers, but try to avoid the recipes that rarely get eaten. Is cranberry sauce on the table because only one person takes one spoonful every year? Do there really need to be two different types of stuffing? More than one bird? Think about what you need and what you know will be eaten, then craft a menu that minimizes potential waste. For the leftovers you absolutely want, there are some fantastic recipes for leftovers that come out every year. Check out your favorite recipe websites for inspiration on how to use your leftovers to the fullest.
Just in case, it’s nice to have a game plan: is a local food bank, shelter, soup kitchen, or church that will be accepting food donations on Thanksgiving Day or the Friday after? Do a little research so your leftovers have a designated place to go.
Break out the good plates
Hosting and serving comes with a lot of responsibilities. Doing the dishes after dinner is over isn’t an easy sell, but it’s better for the environment than bag upon bag of disposable paper plates and plasticware. Your easy, convenient cleanup now has long-term consequences on our communal environment. If you’re looking for one big, easy green Thanksgiving tip, it’s this: serve Thanksgiving dinner on real plates this year. The Earth will thank you for it! Make doing the dishes a family effort, one that’s fun and full of laughter. Consider doing the dishes with a relative from out of town one more opportunity to make a memory or a new tradition.
Remember to run your dishwasher when it’s full, and it’s recommended that you scrape your dishes into the trash instead of rinsing them with hot water before putting them in. This will help your dishwasher run at its best efficiency and it will save you a little on your holiday energy bill.
Your leftovers can get in on the action, too. Pick up mason jars, tupperware, and other reusable containers for family members to take left-overs home in!
A full house is a cozy one
A turkey in the oven all day, pots simmering on the stove, people coming and going, children under-foot… a house that’s full of holiday cheer and joy will produce plenty of its own heat this Thanksgiving. Ugly sweaters, hot chocolate, and maybe a few logs in the fireplace also help keep things toasty. Make sure that you adjust your thermostat accordingly: you probably won’t need as much heat as usual on Thanksgiving Day.
It’s not hard to have a greener, friendlier Thanksgiving that doesn’t blow your budget or break up well-worn traditions. We hope these quick green Thanksgiving tips are accessible and easy for you. Even if you only do one thing on this list, you’ll be making an impact that will make future Thanksgivings a little bit better for us all!
Want to make your 2018 Thanksgiving the greenest one of all? Get in touch with us today so you can serve up some solar-powered turkey to family and friends next year! We hear it tastes better!
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