Tips for a Climatarian ThanksgivingNovember 23 2021
Thanksgiving is right around the corner, a holiday filled with food, family, and friends. This year, we’re focusing on eating Climatarian and infusing the habits and rituals we have around food with sustainability. It can feel daunting to try and change anything around the holidays since family traditions can be so cherished and ingrained, but having a sustainable Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be difficult! We have a few tips to create a fun, delicious, and sustainable Thanksgiving the whole family will enjoy.
Tip #1: Buy In-Season
Thanksgiving often starts weeks before the actual holiday, as you shop and gather the ingredients for everyone’s favorite dishes. This year, do a little extra planning to buy from local farmers, organic if possible, and only in-season produce. Luckily, so many of your favorite dishes are likely based on fall vegetables. Winter squash, carrots, potatoes, kale, and many more vegetables are all in-season around Thanksgiving. Have questions about what is in season for your area? Give a local farmer a call and ask what they have available right now. Buying in season doesn’t have to stop at ingredients for dishes. You can even use your leftover ingredients to create delicious, fall inspired cocktails.
Tip #2: Consider Meat Free
Thanksgiving without turkey?! know, I know, but hear us out. Part of eating Climatarian is eating more plant-based meals. The demand for turkeys around Thanksgiving in America is high, with 45 - 46 million turkeys being consumed each year. The vast majority of these turkeys are raised on factory farms that cause pollution issues for the planet, aren’t great for the turkeys’ health that are raised in them, and consume lots of fossil fuels during processing and travel to your grocery store.
If we’re going to eat well for the planet, we’re going to need to re-think turkey. There are lots of great meat-less options for Thanksgiving. You can go the meat substitute route with products like Quorn Meatless Roast or Gardein Turk’y Roast. You can also simply skip the faux turkey altogether and make a plant-based dish the centerpiece of your table. Quinoa stuffed squash, smoked tofu, or this amazing-looking Vegan Mushroom Wellington would all make stunning centerpieces to your Climatarian table.
Sourcing turkey from a local, regenerative farm is a great way to to still eat your traditional Thanksgiving meal with the planet in mind. Turkeys raised on pasture and that use regenerative methods improve the land and the quality of the meat. It requires a little extra leg work and a few inquiries, but these turkeys are well worth the effort.
Tip #3: Cook Less
Thanksgiving can often be seen as a time of excess. This is when you cook for your entire family, and their families, and your neighbors, and everyone gets to take home leftovers! Although it can be tempting to go all out and cook way too much food, try to rein it in this year and only cook as much as you think your guests will actually eat. It’s nice to have a few leftovers in the fridge, but food waste is a significant problem in the U.S. and Thanksgiving can be a large contributor.
Tip #4: Minimize Waste
There are so many great ways to minimize waste at every step of the Thanksgiving preparation process. First, consider the food scraps you create while cooking. Many of these scraps are safe and delicious for animals, so if you have backyard chickens of your own, consider letting them enjoy the veggies. Throw whatever can’t go to the chickens in your compost pile. If you don’t have animals and you don’t have a compost pile, chances are your local farmer has both! Call up a local farmer and see if they have any interest in food scraps for their compost pile or animals. Farmers often take donations of pumpkins, squash, veggie scraps, etc.
You can also minimize waste at the table. Use cloth napkins for your place setting and get filtered water ready for your guests instead of bottled. If you send leftovers home with guests, put them in reusable containers that give you an excuse to see them again when they return them.
Play around with leftover food scraps from citrus grinds to banana peels to create an array of creative drinks. There’s no shortage of ways you can turn what might be considered trash into a happy hour treasure. It’s also better for you than using syrups to add artificial flavoring!
If you buy more non-perishable ingredients than you end up needing, consider donating them to a local food bank to brighten someone else’s meal.
Thanksgiving is a beautiful time that allows us a chance to celebrate the relationships we share and the bounty of our planet. Our holiday truffles are the perfect gifts to give out to your loved ones after your Thanksgiving gathering. Not only are they zero waste but they’re delicious! Having a sustainable, climatarian Thanksgiving is one of the best ways we can celebrate the planet that makes it all possible and ensure that it will be healthy for many Thanksgivings to come.