Tips for Reducing Food Waste during Thanksgiving

by Hieu Nguyen

Every Thanksgiving, an average family of four wastes approximately 1,16o pounds of uneaten food. That’s about $1,500 wasted out of your pocket. The USDA provides some suggestions for reducing food waste during Thanksgiving.

  1. Plan your meals beforehand.
    • Before you head to the grocery store, make a list of what recipes you want to create and the ingredients that are needed. This will help avoid impulse purchases, which may include food that is not needed.
    • When buying Turkey, a rule to remember is to plan one pound per person
      • If you want to have leftovers then plan one and a half pound per guest instead.
    • For smaller family gatherings, consider preparing some favorite side-dishes to go with the feast such as your favorite rolls or dessert instead of several.
    • If you have guests that want to bring a dish, plan in advance who will be cooking which dish.
  2. Save the scraps while cooking.
    • Freezing scraps such as vegetable peelings and meat trimmings can be used for future creations.
      • One idea is to use it later for savory broths or a hearty soup to provide comfort during the winter season.
    • You can also cook the scraps to make other recipes or ingredients.
      • This can include seasoning potato peelings to bake them into crunchy chips, or sauté extra onions for some delicious caramelized onions.
  3. Store or give away leftovers.
    • If storing, make sure to place the food into clear containers marked with the date and contents.
      • This will increase the chances for leftovers to be remembered in the fridge and actually be eaten.
    • If giving away your leftovers to your guest, let them choose their favorite dishes to take home to.
  4.  Be Creative with your leftovers.
    • Think about the uneaten food you have in the fridge and add your little touch of creativity to it.
      • Such as Extra Rolls and Bread can be turn into bread pudding, or making turkey chili with the leftover meat you have.
    • Who knows? You may even start a new family tradition.
  5. Composting
    • Composting your food scraps can help your garden grow.
      • Make sure to only toss in organics in the container and keep out produce stickers as well as non-compostable plastic bags, service ware, or utensils.

Whatever way you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, these tips can help you reduce food waste while still have a good time.  

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