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Whether you’re ready to stuff yourself full of turkey or just stuff yourself full in general, here are some guidelines on how to prevent yourself from stuffing the landfill with trash and the atmosphere with unnecessary carbon emissions – all while also maintaining your good health this Thanksgiving!

  • Got family or friends who live in a nearby city coming over for the big feast? Encourage them to carpool with each other. According to Rideshare, one can prevent 1,500 lbs of CO2 emissions by just cutting off 25 miles of driving per week. As an added bonus, the car ride may provide some interesting conversation starters, later, around the table.
  • Try to use as many natural ingredients in preparing your delicious feast as you possibly can. Consider purchasing a free-range turkey that has not been injected with antibiotics or growth hormones. Dive for that bird that was raised on 100% vegetarian feed and local!
  • Making your cornbread from a mix? Ensure that it is made of whole kernels and, again, natural ingredients. If budget allows, opt for organically grown produce.

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  • You may be wondering if there’s a place where one can cheaply purchase many Thanksgiving food items. One answer is Trader Joe’s! In their Pacific Northwest newsletter, (I’m Seattle-based), this store is offering some sweet deals. Trader Joe’s All Natural Turkey Gravy (made gluten-free) is available in a 17.6 ounce container for just $1.49. Buy their All Natural, Brined, Fresh Young Turkeys for $1.99 per pound. This store even sells kosher turkey! If a Trader Joe’s is not near you, try looking for a store that offers similar services.
  • Save a bird – forgo the turkey and create a tasty feast that’s simply meatless. Opt for veggies that are local and in-season. Try some vegan thanksgiving recipes.
  • Martinelli’s now offers USDA certified organic sparkling cider – so let the kiddies join in on the fun.
  • Save your leftovers. And if you are feeling up to experimenting, combine some of your leftovers into one container for storage. Seriously, peas, mashed potatoes, and a croissant roll make for a most delicious trio. Be sure to use either glass storage containers or bio-plastic that’s BPA-free. Try HealthyKitchen for a good selection of glass or stainless steel options; Preserve.com for BPA-free food storage ideas or reuseit.com for peace of mind.
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle (in that order). Try your absolute hardest to only purchase what you will need for your Thanksgiving meal. Reuse any containers and decorate them if you so feel the urge. Recycle any cans that once held your condensed milk, yams, beans, etc. Also, be sure to recycle any plastic that your local recycling service will permit.
  • 100_mile_challenge_image.jpgYou’ve probably heard of it, already, but I’d like to mention, anyway. I dare you to take the 100 Mile Challenge! That is, gather as many food items that were grown, produced, and sold within no more than 100 miles of your home as time will allow. One of the best ways to do this is to check out your local farmer’s market. After your friends and family have filled their tummies with delicious yum, reveal to them just where you got those potatoes that they could not help but take third helpings of. Observe their memorable reaction!
  • Dress your table with the real thing – china, glass and cutlery. If that’s impossible, be sure to use bio-based, compostable alternatives instead. They’re widely available and much easier on Mother Earth when compared to disposable plastic and paper-ware. If you just can’t avoid the single-use disposable items, we favor Bambu for earth-conscious disposable table ware. You can also find compostable dinnerware from Branch.com and VerTerra reusable plates are a good option as well.

After all, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate what we are thankful for and a time to look back on fun memories with some of the people we are fond of most. Why not create a ‘green Thanksgiving’ memory while you’re at it?

Related: more healthy food previously on altCon