Fresh and organic vegetables at farmers market
Circle graphic with dot


Fresh and organic vegetables at farmers market
friends cheers with dainty cocktail glasses over an abundant thanksgiving meal

Minimizing Food Waste and Maximizing Gratitude

How to reduce food waste and loss this thanksgiving without compromising the traditional and delicious feast.

According to ReFED, it is estimated that American households will waste around 312 million pounds of food at Thanksgiving. This is triple the estimated daily average of 115 million pounds. This is enough to provide almost 7 meals to each of the 38.3 million food insecure people in the US.

Going off the EPA’s newest horseshoe diagram and hierarchy, follow their method: Feed people, then feed animals. If you can’t do either of those, feed plants or create energy.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure you are minimizing food waste this holiday:

  1. Reconsider your shopping list
    • Plan ahead – NRDC has an online Guestimator that you can use to plan out how much food you will need based on the number of people coming to your event.
    • Portion out – Figure out how much each person will be eating of the main courses, sides, desserts, and even leftovers.
    • Don’t stick to the status quo – you don’t have to peel potatoes or most vegetables. Keep the skin on to add more nutrients and reduce waste.
  2. Revive your food before tossing it
    • If something goes awry in the kitchen while preparing the meal, refer to this list on how to solve five different cooking mishaps.
  3. Upcycle! Optimize your leftovers!
    • If you don’t want to eat Thanksgiving dinner for the third day in a row, get creative!
    • Here is some inspiration to optimize those still delicious leftover: Sandwiches, soups, salads, pies and bakes, pasta dishes, and more.
    • Plan this ahead so you can have ingredients on hand and don’t have to brace the grocery store frenzy after eating your weight in stuffing.
  4. Freeze Freeze Freeze!
    • Almost ~anything~ can be frozen and reheated for those months of hibernation or when you want a home cooked comfort meal
  5. BYOT – Bring your own Tupperware
    • Adding this to all of our thanksgiving, friendsgiving, and holiday invites from here on out.
    • Ask your friends and family to bring their own tupperware to share the bounty and ensure less food will go to waste.
  6. Feed your animal
    • As if you aren’t already feeding your pup scraps of turkey as your carve it, here are some dos and don’ts of feeding your animal leftover food to ensure what they are eating is safe for them.
thanksgiving dinner on a plate
Photo Source: Canva

When your Aunt Karen asks why you didn’t peel the potatoes before mashing them, you now have an open door to educate your family and friends about food waste! And you’re able to divert conversation away from politics. Win-win!

While this contributes to a greater conversation on abundance mindset, overconsumption, and consumer habits, we hope you can utilize these options as a way to mitigate food loss and waste in your home this holiday season.