The Imperfect Digest

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5 Steps for a Less Wasteful Thanksgiving

5 Steps for a Less Wasteful Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving can have a bad reputation for being overwhelming, filling your days with endless do to lists, and your fridge with vertigo inducing towers of leftovers. Our advice is that whenever you’re planning a big meal with a lot of moving parts, making a game plan ahead of time is your best bet. Not only does it reduce stress and keep everything moving smoothly on the day of, but it’s your most effective tool to reduce waste. Here are five steps to create an easier and less wasteful Thanksgiving this year.

1) Clean your your fridge

There’s no sight more soothing to a cook than a clean and neatly organized fridge - and let’s face it, you’re about to need all the fridge space and clean containers that you can get. Cleaning and organizing what remains puts you in touch with everything you’ve got on hand so you don’t accidentally double up during a trip to the store. While you’re at it, take an inventory of what you have in the pantry. For inspiration on how to get started, check out our post The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up Your Fridge!

2) Organize your Tupperware

From prep-work to packing up leftovers, you’re going to need a lot of containers. Save yourself the frenzy of searching for a matching set in the midst of clean-up by surveying and organizing your supplies now. If you’re low, stock up on a few sizes you know you’ll want, ideally that all use the same lid so you don’t have to spend time searching for the right lid later.

3) Prepare to compost

Plan in advance to compost all of those vegetable scraps. If you have a compost bin out back you’re golden. If not, check out if there’s composting resources available to the community in your neighborhood. Farmers markets and community gardens often offer free composting services. Find a Composter is a good place to start looking!

4) Plan for smaller plates

We all have eyes that are bigger than our stomachs on Thanksgiving. How could you not with so many awesome dishes to choose from? Setting the table with smaller plates is a great way to encourage guests to take more modest portions their first time around and then go back for more later. There’s nothing wrong with going back for seconds (or thirds!). It just results in a more flattered cook and a less wasteful meal. Need help planning how much food to buy for your guests? Check out this amazing guest-imator meal planning tool!

5) Anticipate your leftovers

For some families, Thanksgiving leftovers are a tradition in and of themselves, but for others, turkey and sweet potatoes can get old fast. If yours is the latter, make sure to encourage guests to take home food with them to spread the wealth! Prepare for the load out by stocking up on extra containers that you don’t mind giving away. If you are going to be hanging on to most of your leftovers, do a little homework on some fun recipes that spice up leftovers before you start cooking.

Looking for even more Thanksgiving recipes and inspiration? Check out our free e-cookbook full of delicious side dishes created by Imperfect customers: “All Sides Welcome!”

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