This Thanksgiving, take extra steps to make your holiday more sustainable.  Here is a list of tips to cook your Thanksgiving meal sustainably:

 

Eat organic.

This includes your turkey… try to source a turkey locally and from a more humanely raised setting.  Going the organic route will cut down on the chemicals used to grow your produce.

Use your local Farmer’s Market.

Figure out what vegetables are in season and get creative.  Most Thanksgiving seasonal vegetables will be in season apart from only a few.  This will cut down on the gas, CO2 emissions and transportation it takes to ship seasonal food around the world.

Cut down on the number of dishes you serve.

It is as simple as cutting your three sweet potato dishes into one.  Figure out which dish is the favorite of the family and only serve that dish alongside a couple of others.  This will cut back on leftovers.

Waste less.

Don’t let any food go to waste.  Eat what you can and freeze what you can’t.  Try to cut down on holiday food waste by preparing smaller portions.

Use washable dishes.

Stray away from paper/plastic dishes when you can and opt for the real deal.  This will cut down on your waste.  Note, that you should let your dishwasher do the work.  Hand washing the dishes will use more water than your dishwasher.

Along with the idea of cutting down waste, use washable napkins.  This will cut down your waste even further.

Plan ahead.

When you go to the grocery store to start shopping for your Thanksgiving meal, plan and get the most out of your ingredients.  If your recipe calls for 1 and a half of your potatoes, figure out where in your meal you could use the other half.

Try to end hunger in your local area.

Even with all your sustainable efforts, the reality of Thanksgiving is that you’re going to have leftovers.  Make use of the leftovers or extra canned foods and donate them to Meals on Wheels or any local homeless shelter in your area.  This is something to keep in mind, not only during the holiday season but year-round.