Published: Nov. 27, 2020 By

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on everything we are thankful for. That being said, try and reflect on what Mother Nature has provided us and how we can give back to her on a day of giving! Reflect on how you are eating, traveling, and shopping during these last few weeks of the year. Here are some things to consider when cooking a Thanksgiving dinner without the copious amounts of waste and ideas on how to reduce your environmental footprint this Thanksgiving!

Sustainable Cooking/Thanksgiving:

  • Planning ahead!! This is something so simple that could produce great sustainable results. Make a grocery list and check your pantry for items you may already have before buying multiples.
  • Another simple thing that can be done this Thanksgiving is to use reusable dinnerware, napkins, and bags when buying groceries!
  • Consider voting with your dollar this thanksgiving and purchase only local and organic foods if possible!
  • Furthermore, if you eat meat, choosing to buy a turkey from a local free-range farm is the most sustainable choice.
  • Consider incorporating less meat and dairy products in your meals! Since the meat industry is the number one source of methane gas which is ultimately a major contributor to the climate crisis.

What to do with Leftovers/Recipes to Consider with Leftovers:

  • Make sure you have plenty of reusable containers to store leftovers to make several meals!
  • There are endless amounts of recipes out there to utilize Thanksgiving leftovers, choose to repurpose!
  • A few recipes that incorporate the most common meals that are presented at Thanksgiving dinners include:
    • For breakfast: make a breakfast skillet with leftover stuffing vegetables, and turkey, stuffing-based batter waffles, turkey and stuffing quiche, and more.
    • For lunch: leftover turkey and stuffing sandwiches, salads, leftover turkey chili, casseroles, deep fried green beans, leftover Thanksgiving nachos, and more.
    • For dinner: turkey pot pie using leftover vegetables and turkey, soups and stews, turkey sweet potato shepherd’s pie, and so much more, get creative!

Where to Donate Any Leftover Food:

  • If you find you have more extras than predicted, consider donating the excess or unused food to shelters. Sharing is what the holiday is all about, afterall!
  • Wherever you are celebrating this holiday, you can find a local food bank here by searching your zip code and find a place near you to donate extra food.
  • Some places in Boulder where you can donate food this holiday season:

Utilize the items you typically throw out:

  • Making sure to be conscious of the waste being emitted when hosting a large Thanksgiving dinner is essential to living a sustainable lifestyle.
  • To help mitigate some of the waste that is bound to accumulate during the holiday, consider utilizing every part of the food items that would normally be thrown out, some examples include:
    • Making soup or broth using the bone of the turkey.
    • Also use the tops of the vegetables and roots and incorporate that into your soup.
    • If you make pumpkin pie from scratch, make sure to roast pumpkin seeds too! 
    • Instead of buying premade stuffing consider using any stale bread you have to make your own!
    • Instead of throwing out leftover carrots, make pesto!

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