When the idea of cooking with organic ingredients and incorporating eco-friendly activities into your family’s daily routines sound great in theory, but impossible in practice—think again!
These practical, time-saving Turkey Day tips are great, simple ways to start living a “greener” lifestyle.
Let’s Talk Turkey
When shopping for the star of your Thanksgiving feast, budget a little extra and opt for a bird raised outside of a cage. Free range and raised on 100% organic, GMO-free grain, Organic Heritage Breed Turkeys have a natural balance of light and dark meat. Even though they’re slightly smaller than those sold in big box grocery stores, you can rest assured that they haven’t been injected with any stimulants or flavor additives.
From the Farm to Your Table
Support local farmers and serve up dishes made with fruits, veggies and herbs picked fresh and full of natural nutrients. Spend the morning perusing stalls filled with everything you need to make the delicious sides, stuffing and sweet treats on your menu.
Shopping at your neighborhood farmer’s market helps shrink your carbon footprint and ensures your ingredients weren’t sprayed with chemical pesticides and were grown according to government-specified organic guidelines. Some vendors offer community supported agriculture (CSA) programs with services that make it even easier to eat in-season, organic goodies year round. For families with busy schedules, many of these programs offer home delivery services that send baskets filled with a selection of fruits and veggies from local farms straight to your door.
Meat-Free Menu Items
If you’ve invited vegan or vegetarian guests to dine this year, surprise them with flavorful dishes that’ll have them going back for seconds! From tofu-based “Tofurky®” to vegan-friendly cornbread, roasted veggies with rice pilaf and more, there are lots of ways you can substitute animal protein without sacrificing taste. View this list for more meat alternatives sure to satiate any guest at your table.
Find Festival Fall Décor Outside Your Door
Skip a trip to the home décor store and find everything you need to create a beautiful table-scape in your yard or neighborhood park. Collect brightly colored fallen leaves, rustic pine cones and small, sturdy branches and create unique center prices. Or fill vases with home-grown flowers mixed with fragrant herbs like rosemary, thyme and lavender.
Seasonal DIY decorating projects are great for getting the entire family off the couch and encourage them to get creative! Not sure where to start? Craft sites like Pinterest are filled with awesome, easy ideas perfect for kids (and adults) of all ages.
Think Green When Cleaning Up
We all know how it goes: big meals equal big messes. So cut down on post-meal cleaning and avoid dealing with overflowing trash bins altogether with a few simple steps. Create three stations for guests to toss their trash: organic, combustible and recyclable. Stock up on reusable food containers and fill them with leftovers so guests don’t leave empty handed.
And give yourself extra points for swapping out disposable cutlery and cups for ones you’ll use year round and skipping paper napkins and plates for cloth and ceramic—then have bins ready in your sink for guests to soak their dirty dishes.
A New Tradition for Starting the Season of Giving
Making eco-friendly choices is great, but making a commitment to take regular eco-friendly action is the stuff heroes are made of. Since the kids are out of school and you, hopefully, have some time off from work, consider going out and planting a tree in your neighborhood or elsewhere nearby. By doing so you’ll send an eco-positive message to your children and your community.
Remember What Thanksgiving is All About
Between spending hours in the kitchen and hosting guests in your home, it’s easy to feel stressed and forget that this time of year is about having a prevailing attitude of gratitude. This year, make a conscious effort to enjoy and appreciate what’s really important.
Have something to add to this list of eco-friendly Thanksgiving ideas? Share your tips and tricks below!
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