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8 sustainable tips to revamp your Thanksgiving traditions

8 sustainable tips to revamp your Thanksgiving traditions

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Sustainable ways to revamp your Thanksgiving traditions – and even start some new ones.

Sustainable ways to revamp your Thanksgiving traditions – and even start some new ones.

8 sustainable tips to revamp your Thanksgiving traditions
While it can be meaningful weekend, filled with delicious food, football, and laughter, we’re also all too familiar with the downsides of Thanksgiving. The problematic history of the holiday, the questions from relatives (yes, I’m, still single. No, I don’t want you to set me up with your neighbor’s awkward nephew), and this year, in a fresh new hell, a pandemic. There’s another sneaky drawback: food waste.

Each year, Americans waste millions of pounds of food on Thanksgiving. Experts estimate around 200 million pounds of turkey will go to waste this Thanksgiving. According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes and 30 million pounds of stuffing will head into trash cans as well.

In an effort not to be total fun-ruiners, we have a few ways you can have memorable Thanksgiving, but also one that has a minimal impact on the environment. Below are eight sustainable ways to revamp your Thanksgiving traditions and even start some new ones.

1. Buy local

First, start by planning out all the ingredients you need to make your dish. You can use this calculator to figure out how much food you’ll actually need. Making a list (and remembering to take it with you) will ensure that you only need to head out once, reducing your carbon emissions and saving you time during the busy season. You can also use the notes app on your phone, or a dedicated shopping list app so you can’t leave your list at home (this helps all year round). Once you make your list, head over to your local farmers market or community market. From there you can pick up the other ingredients at your supermarket. If you can, make sure to shop sustainably grow or farmed food, if that fits your budget.

2. Volunteer

Try channeling all your 2020 angst into helping your community. Many cities have programs where you can help during the holidays. Donating to your local food bank, sending care packages to service members, and serving warm meals at the food kitchen are just a few of the many ways you can help. Check your city website for more information on ways to help.

3. Get outside

Making time around the preparations and the feasting to get outside is a fun way to connect. Let the kids throw around the football, go on a walk and admire the fall leaves, or even make snow angels if you can.

4. Rethink Black Friday

Avoid purchasing things that you don't need. The lure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday brings millions to the stores in the wee hours of the night. Stores stocked full of your favorite electronics, appliances, and apparel. But first you must complete the challenge of climbing over people who want it as bad as you.

Not to mention we set out on this voyage of greed only hours after being thankful for the things we already have. So be mindful of the things you want to buy and ask yourself if you actually need it.

5. Travel responsibly

Reconsider traveling by car and instead opt for bus or train if that is an option for you. More than 55 million travelers are making plans for the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving.

6. Repurposing scraps & leftovers

Because there’s such an astronomical amount of waste on Thanksgiving, it’s important to be mindful of the food you are eating. Take a smaller portion for your first helping and if you decide you want more after, then go back for seconds. This will help eliminate waste right off the bat.

Next, if you end up with more leftovers than you can eat within a day or so, freezing it is a great option to enjoy that tasty meal when you’re craving it. There are also lots of recipes you can make with Thanksgiving leftovers. Check them out here!

Lastly, if you find yourself with lots of food scraps such as peels, shells, and rinds, compost them! Check out this list to find out which foods you can compost, and recycle. You will find out that there are a lot of better places for scrap items to end up than the landfill.

7. Table settings

Rethink the way you set your table this Thanksgiving. There is no better holiday than Thanksgiving to start being less wasteful. Go for reusable cutlery instead of single use paper and plastics. Don’t forget a reusable tablecloth as well, these add lots of character to a dining room. You can add potted plants to the table to bring in some color. Use pinecones, colored leaves, and branches to make for a rustic yet classy table setting. For more inspiration on this, visit this article.

8. Eat your veggies

For many of us, Turkey is a staple on Thanksgiving. Also, for many of us, we tend to over-indulge on foods that aren’t too good for you. Consider adding more vegetables to your plate (they can be tasty, I promise). Sautéing carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms make for a colorful addition to the table buffet. Roasting squash and beets add seasonal flare as well. There are so many wonderful veggie recipes to incorporate to your traditional plates. Head on over to the Food Network to discover some uniquely delicious recipes for Thanksgiving veggies. If you aren’t ready to go full-vegetarian, be mindful with your meat portions and fill up on an array of veggies.

Whether you choose to adopt one or all of these sustainable tips, know that you’re doing something good for the environment, which in turn, is also doing something good for you.

While it can be meaningful weekend, filled with delicious food, football, and laughter, we’re also all too familiar with the downsides of Thanksgiving. The problematic history of the holiday, the questions from relatives (yes, I’m, still single. No, I don’t want you to set me up with your neighbor’s awkward nephew), and this year, in a fresh new hell, a pandemic. There’s another sneaky drawback: food waste.

Each year, Americans waste millions of pounds of food on Thanksgiving. Experts estimate around 200 million pounds of turkey will go to waste this Thanksgiving. According to the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, 40 million pounds of mashed potatoes and 30 million pounds of stuffing will head into trash cans as well.

In an effort not to be total fun-ruiners, we have a few ways you can have memorable Thanksgiving, but also one that has a minimal impact on the environment. Below are eight sustainable ways to revamp your Thanksgiving traditions and even start some new ones.

1. Buy local

First, start by planning out all the ingredients you need to make your dish. You can use this calculator to figure out how much food you’ll actually need. Making a list (and remembering to take it with you) will ensure that you only need to head out once, reducing your carbon emissions and saving you time during the busy season. You can also use the notes app on your phone, or a dedicated shopping list app so you can’t leave your list at home (this helps all year round). Once you make your list, head over to your local farmers market or community market. From there you can pick up the other ingredients at your supermarket. If you can, make sure to shop sustainably grow or farmed food, if that fits your budget.

2. Volunteer

Try channeling all your 2020 angst into helping your community. Many cities have programs where you can help during the holidays. Donating to your local food bank, sending care packages to service members, and serving warm meals at the food kitchen are just a few of the many ways you can help. Check your city website for more information on ways to help.

3. Get outside

Making time around the preparations and the feasting to get outside is a fun way to connect. Let the kids throw around the football, go on a walk and admire the fall leaves, or even make snow angels if you can.

4. Rethink Black Friday

Avoid purchasing things that you don't need. The lure of Black Friday and Cyber Monday brings millions to the stores in the wee hours of the night. Stores stocked full of your favorite electronics, appliances, and apparel. But first you must complete the challenge of climbing over people who want it as bad as you.

Not to mention we set out on this voyage of greed only hours after being thankful for the things we already have. So be mindful of the things you want to buy and ask yourself if you actually need it.

5. Travel responsibly

Reconsider traveling by car and instead opt for bus or train if that is an option for you. More than 55 million travelers are making plans for the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving.

6. Repurposing scraps & leftovers

Because there’s such an astronomical amount of waste on Thanksgiving, it’s important to be mindful of the food you are eating. Take a smaller portion for your first helping and if you decide you want more after, then go back for seconds. This will help eliminate waste right off the bat.

Next, if you end up with more leftovers than you can eat within a day or so, freezing it is a great option to enjoy that tasty meal when you’re craving it. There are also lots of recipes you can make with Thanksgiving leftovers. Check them out here!

Lastly, if you find yourself with lots of food scraps such as peels, shells, and rinds, compost them! Check out this list to find out which foods you can compost, and recycle. You will find out that there are a lot of better places for scrap items to end up than the landfill.

7. Table settings

Rethink the way you set your table this Thanksgiving. There is no better holiday than Thanksgiving to start being less wasteful. Go for reusable cutlery instead of single use paper and plastics. Don’t forget a reusable tablecloth as well, these add lots of character to a dining room. You can add potted plants to the table to bring in some color. Use pinecones, colored leaves, and branches to make for a rustic yet classy table setting. For more inspiration on this, visit this article.

8. Eat your veggies

For many of us, Turkey is a staple on Thanksgiving. Also, for many of us, we tend to over-indulge on foods that aren’t too good for you. Consider adding more vegetables to your plate (they can be tasty, I promise). Sautéing carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms make for a colorful addition to the table buffet. Roasting squash and beets add seasonal flare as well. There are so many wonderful veggie recipes to incorporate to your traditional plates. Head on over to the Food Network to discover some uniquely delicious recipes for Thanksgiving veggies. If you aren’t ready to go full-vegetarian, be mindful with your meat portions and fill up on an array of veggies.

Whether you choose to adopt one or all of these sustainable tips, know that you’re doing something good for the environment, which in turn, is also doing something good for you.

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