Thanksgiving is one of the most delicious holidays of the year, but did you know it’s also one of the most wasteful? Americans waste over 200 million pounds of turkey at Thanksgiving, amounting to over $293 MILLION dollars in wasted turkey alone. Uneaten food at Thanksgiving generates greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 800,000 car trips from New York to San Francisco, putting out one million tons of excess CO2 into the atmosphere. The good news is wasting less food this Thanksgiving couldn’t be easier. Just follow these 4 tips:
- Clean out your fridge. Before you start cooking up a storm you need to set yourself up for success by clearing the decks. Taking stock of what you have now will help you avoid overbuying produce and staples and allow you to store more leftovers later. You’re about to need all the fridge space and clean Tupperware that you can get. If you need more inspiration or advice on cleaning out your fridge, check out our post on “the life-changing art of tidying up your fridge!”
- Buy just what you need. Practice strategic grocery shopping. Make a list and stick to it. Avoiding small impulse or “just in case” purchases now will prevent tons of waste later. Trust us, there will be more than enough food.
- Try smaller plates. Everyone’s eyes are bigger than their stomachs on Thanksgiving, but having dinner plates the size of small traffic signs makes it dangerously easy to take too much food and end up wasting it. Smaller plates encourage your guest to get a reasonable amount and then go back for more. There’s nothing wrong with going back for seconds (or thirds!). It just results in a more flattered cook and a less wasteful meal!
- Send your guests home with leftovers. Let’s be honest, one of the most awkward reasons that we waste food is just getting bored of our leftovers. No matter how good the casserole, the honeymoon is usually over by day 3. So, instead of wallowing in an insurmountable pile of monotony, send it home with your guests. That way you won’t get sick of it, and they get to relive your epic cooking skills. It’s a win-win! If you’re looking for inspiration for the leftovers that you’ve still got, be sure to check out the recipe guide in your Thanksgiving Imperfect box!