Saturday, November 17, 2018

No-Waste Thanksgiving

I don't know about your Thanksgiving traditions, but as for many Americans, I'm nearly certain they center around the food, the feast, the festivities. And usually, lots of lots of all of that. If your house is like mine--typically too much of it!

Typically, across the United States, 40% of all food goes to waste. This stems from super-sized portions at restaurants, expiration dates, over-shopping, and on holidays like Thanksgiving, planning too much for the crew coming to you.

With all of that in mind, here are some tips to go about having a no-waste Thanksgiving (and other feasts and feeding frenzies throughout the year:

FoodTank Resources:
RecycleNation provides 8 ideas on how hone in on your planning to help cut down on too many leftovers. They include:
  • checking your guest list, 
  • turkey shopping for your numbers, 
  • consider going meat free, 
  • watching for dishes that need special ingredients (where the rest then gets wasted), 
  • making stock with the bones or using FindAComposter to repurpose that food waste,
  • sending leftovers home with your guests,
  • getting creative with the leftovers you are left with!
  • using the dishwasher versus handwashing--it's more water efficient!
Hungry Harvest's variation to the theme is also to freeze whatever leftovers you know you aren't going to get to. Additionally, bumping up those veggies always helps! MindBodyGreen and Wild Minimalist, agree, adding in letting natural items inspire your decor (versus anything store-bought or plastic).

Popular Science also included a lot of the ideas above (including finding a composting center) and this per person serving:
  • 1 lb turkey per person
  • Proteins 4-8 oz (1/2 cup to 1 cup)
  • Starches 4-8 oz
  • Vegetables 4-6 oz
However my favorite share of theirs was their link to the Guest-imator tool, a calculator designed to help you plan your Thanksgiving menu. You plug in # eaters (by small, average, and big eaters), amount of leftovers, and the type of menu you want: "Classic Thanksgiving," "Veggie Paradise." and "Smorgasbord" w/a little bit of everything. I'm definitely going to check that one out!

Whatever you plan for this Thanksgiving ahead, may your meal be plentiful, just not overflowing! Think largely while you eat lightly--maybe still a feast for you, but lightening the load on our planet!

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