Updated: Nov 1, 2022
Fall has officially entered the country and the holidays are not too far away. You slowly start to think about what you would like the create for Thanksgiving. You probably want to make something special but you also don’t want to produce too much waste. Here are a few tips for you to help you create a zero waste thanksgiving.
Make a plan
Whether you are cooking for 2 people or your family of 20, you need to prepare beforehand. How many dishes do you want to make and how much time and money do you want to invest in your (vegan) dinner? If you don’t want to be in the kitchen for days before the big day, a few fewer dishes might be a good idea.
Check and, if possible, try the recipes beforehand to make sure the portions are correct and to see if all the ingredients for your recipe are available in the supermarket.
Try to find recipes that make the most of your ingredients to avoid waste.
For grocery shopping that is. Often we buy too much stuff, ending up with too much of a product we don’t use and too many leftovers. The larger the crowd you are cooking for, the higher the chance of buying and cooking too much. A guideline I use is to cook for 9 when 10 people are joining.
Try cooking from scratch is not only a very cheap option, but you also avoid packaging waste.
Choosing locally produced organic foods is also a great way to cut costs and be more sustainable. A farmers market is great for this.
Be sure to check beforehand which products they have available and what is in the season so you can adjust your recipes accordingly.
Keep it simple
It is not the fancy meal or the overly decorated table arrangements that count. It is the company you eat it with. Instead of making all the dishes super fancy that requires you to be in the kitchen for 24 hours, choose one dish to go all out and make the remainder of the dishes simpler. A few great ingredients can make a simple but super tasty dish.
For your table arrangements, nice table cloth and a few candles are often sufficient to create a nice ambiance. No need for a centerpiece in the middle of the table when it if makes you unable to look a the other person of the table.
Go for local. I live in the Netherlands which means France is around the corner for great choices of wine. We also have lots of small local breweries to choose from for the ones who prefer beer.
Save the scraps
Leftovers make a great meal for the next day. (who wants the cook to cook the day after Thanksgiving anyway?) If you have friends and/or family over, ask them to bring some storage containers so they can bring some of the leftovers with them.
I hope these tips help you make thanksgiving a little more sustainable. What other tips do you have to make Thanksgiving a little more eco-friendly?