7 Ways to Reduce Food Waste This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving: a time for family, friends and a whole lot of food. We get it, we love food, but when all that food becomes leftovers that no one is interested in eating, it’s a problem. We thought it might be useful to share a few pointers on how to reduce your food waste this Thursday.


Plan your menu. It may seem like a no-brainer since it’s Thanksgiving, but it’s the easiest way to reduce food waste. If you know exactly what you’re cooking or who’s bringing what, you won’t have five bowls of mashed potatoes on the table. (Even though that doesn’t sound like the worst thing that could happen.)

Get a head count. This is step two of menu-planning. If there are only eight guests coming, cooking for 20 is 1) stressful and 2) unnecessary. Knowing the length of your guest list will help you decide what size turkey to buy.

Check your cupboards. Before you head to the store, double check that you don’t have a can of this or a box of that hiding in the back of your pantry.

Keep the giblets and other bits. Did Grandma ever throw away the turkey giblets? No, she didn’t. She used them to flavor the gravy. She also probably used the pile of vegetable trimmings to make soup stock.

Let the leftovers leave. Encourage guests to bring containers so that they can take home some of the leftovers. Just be sure to keep the pie. You’ll want the pie.

Use the rest of the leftovers. Even if everyone takes home a doggy bag, you’ll probably still have something in your fridge. Get creative! There are thousands of recipes on the Internet using leftovers for post-Thanksgiving meals. No excuses.

Feed the hungry. Find a food bank in your area and donate any excess food you have.


We'd love to hear how your waste-free Thanksgiving goes. Leave a comment or send us an email at info@foodrecoverynetwork.org