Time to be grateful and eat a lot of food. Celebrate this year by bringing eco-friendly tips to your family gathering. Whether you can do one or none of these, learn more about sustainable solutions for everyday events. 

Plant-Based Holiday Dishes

There are endless plant-based options for holiday meals. Bring one to the family party. Everyone will be amazed at your culinary skills and eco-friendly choices. Set an example for simple changes that are delicious. 

Thanksgiving is a great time to get excited about a new recipe. Cutting meat and dairy reduce gas emissions, water use, land use, the negative impacts of agriculture, and ultimately your carbon footprint by 73 percent. A plant-based diet can minimize your environmental impact from the turkey to meat substitutions and more vegetables in the side dishes.  

Encourage everyone (and yourself) to celebrate an imperfectly eco thanksgiving meal! One vegetable dish doesn’t mean an immediate meat-free lifestyle. But it does mean you’re learning more about making plant-based decisions. 

Local Wine, Spirits, Baked Goods, and Markets 

Shopping locally supports your community and your planet. Shopping locally also reduces industrial and international processing, packaging, and transportation pollution. Serve up a taste of the unique culture close to home.

An easy way not to show up empty-handed is with a bottle. Ask your nearby liquor store if they carry local wine and spirits. Or make a day out of it by sampling the options at a winery or distillery. 

Don’t stop there. Local bakeries and markets produce some of the best foods around. Grab something last minute or plan a convenient stop in your holiday preparations. Local cuisine will add flavor to your Thanksgiving dinner.

Get your Conversation Pieces 

We all have those family members who don’t see eye to eye; that’s okay. The best way to persuade someone is by finding common ground. For example, try to highlight how improving the environment aligns with their values. 

Also, don’t take it personally if you can’t change their minds. Lead by example! Talk about some awesome things you are doing to protect the environment and be your own inspiration. Loving family and friends will support your journey. 

Dairy Substitutes 

Dairy-free options can look like mash potatoes, mac & cheese, biscuits, stuffing, casseroles, cakes and more. Carry some of your favorite secret ingredients into a new recipe without milk. Or try a milk substitute. 

Milk substitutes include soy, oat, almond, coconut, and more. One glass of milk results in three times as much greenhouse gas emissions and nine times more land use than a plant-based alternative. Find a way to sneak in a milk substitute this year or use dairy-free recipes. 

Reusable Dishes, Napkins, Cookware, Containers, and more

Thanksgiving reusables can be even easier than on-the-go reusables. For example, you don’t have to carry them with you. Re-use everything you already have at home this year.  

Use washable napkins, dishware, cookware, and silverware. Single-use items are wasteful and don’t create the same aesthetics. Setting the table and washing the dishes is an excellent way to get the family involved with the holiday’s hard work. 

Save all your tasty foods in containers for later. Even better, send your family and friends home with some too. You can use material or organic coverings for plates and bowls. Reusable storage containers and bags keep food fresh for longer. 

Food Waste

Try to manage food waste during this food-filled holiday. On Thanksgiving, its essential to be grateful for all the energy that goes into bringing fantastic food to our tables. There are steps you can take to limit food that ends up in the trash.

When food ends up in garbage bags at landfills, it cannot break down through natural organic processes. Therefore, the food emit gasses into the atmosphere for hundreds of years. If food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter.

Take your family’s unwanted leftovers! If you’re making dinner, try to plan and cook for the right amount people there. The following week, eat as much of the leftovers as you can. Finally, compost anything that starts to go bad. 

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