4 Steps To Sustainable Holiday Celebrations

Posted on Nov 20, 2017 in Blog |


 
The growing interest in sustainability and responsible eating and spending habits is something we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving. The holidays are filled with warmth, family, love, and, of course, food. Gift-giving and cooking are money-spending hallmarks of this season, and it’s important to remember the impact that your shopping decisions have on everything from your local economy to national and even international agricultural trends.

Do you want to ensure that you’re putting your interest in sustainability, natural and healthy foods, and local food to good use? Here are some tips to make your holidays and the meals that go with them as sustainable as possible.

Shop Local

Of course this tip is first and foremost, and for good reason. As we discussed in last month’s post, keeping your consumer dollars local when shopping for gifts and foods is a crucial part of investing in what matters to you and those you know and care about. It’s also the easiest and most reliable way to truly know the origins of your food: local farms and farmers tend to be incredibly transparent and therefore generally safer with their farming practices, and that’s good for you and your family. If you can procure meat, produce, and gifts locally, that will be the most effective way of keeping your holiday sustainable – so go check out that craft fair or that indoor farmer’s market and support your local vendors!

Minimize Waste

Waste is a huge problem, and to us seems like the second biggest sustainability-killing habit of consumers. Too many families use wasteful styrofoam or paper plates, plastic cups and silverware, and paper napkins when they could be using reusable and washable diningware.

Excess packaging is also a hefty culprit – if you have to buy goods at the store, try to buy unpackaged items whenever possible. If your only option is to buy something that is packaged, try to choose packaging that’s biodegradable or compostable, or at least not layer after layer of plastic bags and boxes.

Food waste, too, is extremely excessive around the holidays, but it doesn’t have to be. Those doing the cooking tend to cook much more than is needed, simply because they fear being underprepared or short on edibles at the dinner table, but inevitably there’s more food than can be consumed even as leftovers, let alone at the meal itself. This causes food waste, which is a contributing factor in global food shortages and prices. This Huffington Post article gives some excellent advice for controlling portion sizes and eliminating food waste by more precisely calculating portions and the amount of food to cook.

Above all, remember that food waste’s biggest enemy is culinary creativity – use every edible part of the meat, veggies, and other items you’re cooking with, and you’ll get much farther with fewer items because you’re not wasting as much.

Make Your Meat Choices More Sustainable

Holiday meals for those of us who do eat meat tend to be extremely meat-centric, often with multiple items on the table featuring different kinds of meat. What many people don’t realize is that over-demand for meat is actually not very sustainable – animals raised unsustainably for meat actually put a lot of strain on the world’s resources.

So what can you do with your holiday meal without contributing to the larger problem? If you’re going to feature meat in your meal (as most of us will!), make absolutely sure that it’s from a sustainable source – 1,000 bonus points if it’s local!

Get Creative With Leftovers

Try as we might to ensure we’re only buying and cooking what we need, most of us will have leftovers. The trick is to make sure that none of those leftovers end up in the trash as more food waste. Try these handy leftovers recipes to keep your holiday meal leftovers sounding appetizing until they’re gone!

 

If you’re looking for an impressive and completely do-able goal this holiday season, challenge yourself and your family to make this your most sustainable set of year-end celebrations yet!
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