Cut Back on Thanksgiving Food Waste With These Tips

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Thanksgiving food reigns supreme in the land of leftovers. You just can’t beat the Turkey sandwiches, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pie. Rarely is there a time when leftover meals will have you eating like royalty. However, food waste is still a prevalent issue in America, and the excess of all the fixings that go into a Thanksgiving meal often leads tons of discarded food that is perfectly okay to eat.

In fact, 40% of food in America is wasted, oftentimes making its way to landfills and piling up there. In addition to the waste of food, it is also a huge waste of money. The National Resources Defense Council estimates that American spends $1,800 a year on food that is eventually thrown out. 

So, in the spirit of maintaining good habits, we want to help you cut back on food waste this holiday season, starting with your Thanksgiving meal. Use these tips to help you cut back on waste, and properly save the food you have leftovers. 

Plan out your shopping 

Having a solid grocery shopping plan is the first step in cutting back on waste. Often, people will overbuy groceries in fear of not having enough for their guests. This is almost never the case, but people will usually follow the “better safe than sorry” mantra. To help mitigate this, try out the Cooking for a Crowd Calculator on Calculate This! This will help you better measure and prepare your grocery shopping, ensuring you have the right amount of food for your guests. 

Send Guests Home with Leftovers 

If you find yourself smothered with leftovers, all it takes is a little creativity to make the best of it. Provide small Tupperware containers for your guests to take extra food home.

Get Creative With New Recipes

For the dishes you decide to keep, research various recipes that help you utilize all of the ingredients in a unique way; that way you aren’t stuck eating the same meal over and over again. Leftover sweet potatoes can be made into sweet potato pancakes for breakfast or sweet potato bread. Leftover turkey and vegetables can be tossed in some broth for a quick and easy soup. The bigger dishes like casseroles and mashed potatoes can be stuck in the freezer, preserving them for future meals. 

Donate Leftovers

Of course, you can always donate leftover food to many organizations that accept food donations all over the county, and what better way to spread some holiday cheer by helping those in need. Click here for a list of institutions that accept food donations in San Diego.

Using these tips will leave you prepare to take on the mountain of leftovers you may have after Thanksgiving. If you can get through Thanksgiving with minimal food wasted, you’ll be prepared to make a change for the better, both sustainably and financially. 

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