Green Tip – Sustainable Thanksgiving

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Wednesday at NOTE: SIMPLE TIPS WILL AIR ON TUESDAYS BEGINNING OCTOBER 25 2011.

GREEN TIP: Try to plan a more sustainable Thanksgiving. Plan ahead for perfect portions and leftover packaging. At least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year – more than 100 pounds per person.

Use Less Stuff has 42 Ways to Watch Your Holiday Wasteline (pun intended). They’ve created a convenient list of approximate food portions for your Thanksgiving meal:

  • Turkey- 1 pound per person
  • Stuffing- ¼ pound per person
  • Sweet potato casserole- ¼ pound per person
  • Green beans- ¼ pound per person
  • Cranberry relish- 3 tablespoons per person
  • Pumpkin pie- 1/8 of a 9 inch pie per person

Locally, you can find a number of wonderful ingredients for your Thanksgiving meal at Sydney’s Health Market. If you not been there yet, head over this Saturday, November 13th 2010 for their Healthy Holidays Celebration from 10am to 3pm. Sign up for door prizes, samples some treats and soak in their warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Go to Sydney’s Health Market’s website for more information.

Talking turkey:

According to Sustinable Table, the traditional Thanksgiving turkey is different today than it was 50 years ago. Today, 99% of all turkeys raised in the U.S. are the “Broadbreasted White” variety (sometimes also referred to as the “Large White”).

These birds are raised in confinement in extremely crowded conditions on factory farms. They live in unnatural, uncomfortable conditions and are fed a steady diet of grain and supplements like antibiotics, rather than the grubs, bugs and grasses they should eat.

They are produced because of their large, white meaty breast. The breasts of these turkeys are so large that they are unable to reproduce naturally. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, without artificial insemination performed by humans, this variety of bird would become extinct in just one generation.

Industrial turkeys are often injected with saline solution and vegetable oils in an attempt to help improve the taste and texture of the meat. These factory farmed birds tend to be dry and tasteless, so cooks have developed a variety of methods to try to improve the taste. Turkeys are now marinated, brined, deep fried and covered with syrups, spices and herbs.

You have other options. You can order a heritage turkey, or you can look for organic and/or sustainable birds at butchers, specialty shops and at farmers markets around the country.

Locally: Pre-order your turkey at Sydney’s Health Market. They have local, free-range, organic birds available for $2.99 per pound. Head on over to 810 30th Ave S in Moorhead or give them a call at 218-233-3310.

On to the leftovers:

You know you’re going to have them so make a plan. The Alternative Consumer has a wonderful suggestion in their green Thanksgiving guide.

Avoid plastic wrap. Most plastic wraps contain PVC which quickly winds up in landfills and has been linked to harmful environmental consequences. Use aluminum foil or, even better, send family home with glass or ceramic storage containers that they can return to you.

Or, call your guests and ask them to bring their own container if they’d like leftovers.

Above all, relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving, remember why we are celebrating.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Sustainable Table
Sustainable Table
was launched in 2003 to educate consumers about issues surrounding the food supply and to encourage individuals to switch to healthier, more sustainable eating habits.

Sustainable Table is also home to the Eat Well Guide, an online directory of sustainable products in the U.S. and Canada.

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  1. Lisa @Retro Housewife Goes Green’s avatar

    Food waste on Thanksgiving isn’t an issue here. I make a TON of food but we eat it all. I put scrap pieces (potato peels and such) in the compost and we all love leftovers.

    I always do a huge pot of mashed potatoes because I like to make potato soup with the leftovers. Also turkey sandwiches are always enjoyable! Thanksgiving has the best leftovers!

    If I have extra meat I just freeze it and put it in pasta or soup later.


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