Think Green This Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is about showing appreciation for the people and things you care about. This year show your appreciation for the environment by thinking green. Below I have compiled a list of tips to help you celebrate an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

1.       Buying and Preparing Food


Thinking sustainably during Thanksgiving might seem like a lot of extra work but it’s worth it.

When choosing what to serve consider foods that are organic and locally grown. Supporting locally grown food not only reduces wastes from travel but also supports your local economy.  Buying food that is in season will make your meal taste fresh and delicious.


 Another tip is to only cook enough food for the holiday meal and a manageable amount of leftovers. Every year 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted. When Cooking consider the following portion sizes:


Turkey: 1 Pound

Stuffing: ¼ Pound

Sweet Potato Casserole: ¼ Pound

Green Beans: ¼ Pound

Cranberry Relish: 3 Tablespoons

Pumpkin Pie:  1/8 of a 9 inch Pie


2.       Turkey Time!


The first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think about Thanksgiving is the Turkey. 99.9% of Turkeys bought this year will be of the same breed, the broad breasted white, and most will be produced by industrialized farming, which is not typically eco-friendly. Instead of picking out an industrially farmed turkey from your local supermarket try a Heritage Breed Turkey.


Heritage Breeds are usually raised on small farms and have longer “growing periods” than their commercially raised brethren. Longer growth periods result in a fattier bird with more flavor. Unfortunately this longer growing period also means that Heritage Breeds are also more expensive, costing upwards of $5 per pound.


To find your nearest Heritage Turkey Breeds visit Local Harvest or Slow Foods USA, websites dedicated to helping people find local sustainable food.


If a Heritage Breed Turkey is out of the question try buying Certified Organic, Pastured, and Free Range Birds.


3.       Decorations


Instead of buying disposable decorations try making your own out of objects you find outdoors. If you want to decorate but baskets of fall leaves and pine cone turkeys aren’t your style, instead invest in decorations that can be used throughout the holiday season and can be used year after year.


How to set your Thanksgiving Table can be a tricky issue. Going disposable can be easier when hosting large crowds but equals a lot of extra waste. If you don’t own enough dishes and silverware to serve your guests opt for biodegradable plates and utensils. Another option for a more eclectic table is to ask your guests to bring their favorite tableware from home.


4.       Turn Off The TV


I know that watching Football after Thanksgiving Dinner is a popular tradition for many families, mine included, but it’s a waste of electricity and time you could be spending doing a fun activity. It might sound corny, but my favorite part of Thanksgiving is playing (and winning) games like Charades and Celebrity with my family. If doing lousy impersonations and shouting book titles at the top of your lungs is not your family’s style, go outside for a walk or game of football.

Turkey Dinner via Shutterstock

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 at 15:30
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