Thanksgiving is going to be here before we know it, so I want to equip you with the best tools that I have to get dinner on the table without creating a ton of waste.
Some of the most wasteful areas to combat are going to be grocery shopping, the table, and food waste.
We waste a staggering amount of food around Thanksgiving. It's estimated that American's throw out 200 million pounds of edible turkey each year! One of the best ways to prevent waste starts at the grocery store.
1. shop lean:
We tend to over buy lots and I mean LOTS. Try to buy less than you need. In your mind remove 15% of your guest list.
So, if I'm going to have over 20 people, I pretend like I'm only cooking for 17. This helps me stifle that inner voice screaming, "People are going to go hungry! BUY MORE!"
2. keep it simple:
When I cook large meals, I find that it's best to keep it simple. I don't go overboard making tons of elaborately crafted casseroles and dips. I like to elevate the produce of the season.
Produce is one of the easiest things to buy without any packaging, and when prepared properly it's beautiful and so tasty!
I try to split my cooking into 20% wow factor (major prep time) and 80% simple (little prep time). This keeps my work time in the kitchen down.
I'll make one interesting and creative dish like a green bean casserole or an elaborate desert and the rest of the meal will focus on simple, fresh produce.
I cook everything from scratch to cut down on packaging waste. So, my green bean casserole is always topped with homemade onion rings! Such a treat and a real show stopper.
3. keep it real:
I find Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner to be a few of the holidays where family will break out the china and the cloth napkins.
This Thanksgiving make sure that you're keeping it real by sticking with all reusables!
4. food waste:
Then at the end of the evening make sure that there's not any food that's going to waste. Break down the meal and place it in tupperware containers for the fridge and make sure to send lots of leftovers home with others.
I like to call friends and family and ask them to pack a tupperware container or two so they can bring home tasty snacks!
In the holiday spirit, if you're not worried about a Thanksgiving feast maybe consider donating to those who might be? Donate to Feeding America
For more tips on throwing a Zero Waste Thanksgiving get this guide including a guide with recipes, shopping list, and even a schedule for getting the meal on the table.