Americans make three times more food waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than at other times of the year. Tons and tons of food go to waste simply because people don’t know what to do with it. This Thanksgiving, you can reduce your food waste with these simple suggestions.
1. Plan How Much Food is Needed for Each Guest
Don’t prepare an unrealistic amount of food. If you make twice as much food as your guests will eat, you’ve created food waste and wasted all the effort you spent cooking. Decide how much food each person will eat, and make a reasonable amount of food.
Make a list of necessary products. Plan in advance how to use the leftovers that were explicitly bought for cooking unusual dishes so that they are used wisely.
2. Choose Smarter Serving Sizes
Serving guests smaller portions this Thanksgiving will cut back on the amount of Thanksgiving food left on people’s plates. They can always get seconds (or thirds, or fourths) later. Even better, have guests serve themselves buffet-style so each of your guests can eat whatever they like without wasting foods they don’t want.
Keeping portion sizes within a healthy range not only reduces food waste but also helps with weight loss. Being more mindful of your hunger and practicing portion control is a great way to reduce food for Thanksgiving.
3. Give Your Guests Food to Take Home
If it turns out that you bought too much food or prepared so much food that you can’t cope with it at Thanksgiving, there will always be someone to share with. So that your cooking efforts and Thanksgiving Day food are not wasted.
For example, when the Thanksgiving feast is over, and your guests are going home, encourage them to take packed delicious Thanksgiving food in reusable containers. Only a little can go to waste if everyone takes some leftovers.
4. Use Your Leftovers
Plan what you’re going to use leftovers for before Thanksgiving arrives. While you may not think twice about throwing leftover Thanksgiving food off in the trash, remember that food waste has a serious impact on the environment. Planning ahead will get you excited to use your Thanksgiving leftovers so they don’t go to waste.
There are plenty of tasty recipes available online, from the obvious sandwiches to soup, burritos, stir-fries, and much, much more. In addition, you can use such Thanksgiving Day food as vegetables and turkey carcasses to make tasty stock and broth. Take any leftovers you don’t plan on using right away and put them in the freezer, so they don’t spoil before you want to eat them.
5. Let the Uneaten Become Tomorrow’s Lunch or Dinner
There are many inventive recipes on the Internet for using leftover Thanksgiving Day food. However, remember to store leftover food in the refrigerator and consume it as soon as possible.
For example, turkey soup or broth is a classic Thanksgiving turkey leftover plan, or you can make shepherd’s pie using leftover turkey, vegetables, and mashed potatoes.
6. Make Compost From Scraps
If you have a garden, you can compost extra food scraps to create great fertilizer. Compost any uneaten Thanksgiving food, such as apple cores, banana skins, vegetable tips, etc. This will help divert food waste from landfills and benefit the soil. Your plants will be thankful for the nutrients.
7. Use the Freezer to Reduce Your Food Waste Thanksgiving This Year
Freezing food is one of the most popular storage modes to avoid food waste on Thanksgiving this year. Fortunately, the types of Thanksgiving food that tolerate freezing well are endless.
You can put almost anything in the freezer – milk, grated cheese, sliced bread, and even raw eggs without shells. You can also extend the life of meat and vegetables by freezing them. For example, greens that are too bland for your favorite salad can be put into freezer bags or containers and used later in smoothies and other recipes. It’s a great way to ensure you always have healthy homemade food, thanks to the fact that you didn’t throw away your food after Thanksgiving this year.
8. Store Leftovers Sustainably
You will inevitably end up with Thanksgiving leftovers, and the best way to cut down on food waste is to eat them! Improper storage leads to a huge amount of food waste. You can use glass containers, try using bowls, cover them with plates, and look for reusable jars. This way, you can distribute leftovers and reduce waste.
9. Pay Attention to Expiration Dates
Recommended terms of sale and end use are different things. More often than not, these dates serve as an indicator of freshness or quality rather than a marker of when the food will go bad. Many people throw away fresh food because of date stamps. Therefore, use your common sense and figure out what the date on your packaged or canned foods really means before throwing food away at Thanksgiving this year.
Last but not least, donate all Thanksgiving food if you know your family won’t be able to eat everything. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, and there’s no better way to give thanks than to help those who don’t have everything you are thankful for.
Donate any non-perishable Thanksgiving food you have leftover to a food pantry, disaster relief organization, or church near you. Some organizations have restrictions. Therefore, please check them before donating products. Some use the services of food banks, but it is also recommended to consider friends or families in the neighborhood who may need extra food.
Do you have any other tips on how to reduce food waste this Thanksgiving? Share them, please!
Below, we have compiled a list of the most interesting questions about tips for ways to reduce your food waste this Thanksgiving: