November 27

5 Ideas for Preventing Food Wastage this Thanksgiving


preventing food wastageFood waste is a growing concern for the environment and is preventable. In North America, we throw away 40% of the food we produce – that’s about $408 billion worth of food!

The Center for Biological Diversity outlines that, on average, Each year, Americans carelessly toss out 200 million pounds of turkey, and 150 million pounds of side dishes such as veggies and potatoes.

The emissions from decomposing food and plastic bags in landfills are released as methane, which is a particularly powerful greenhouse gas. It’s responsible for about 25% of global warming, making preventing food wastage one of the most critical tasks this holiday season.


How to Avoid Thanksgiving Leftovers

Plan your menu

Planning your Thanksgiving meal is key to avoiding any leftovers. If you have too much turkey, your guests will be overwhelmed with food. If you’re not careful, you might have mountains of turkey and trimmings on your hands.

Plan your meal so that you don’t have too much leftover turkey. Have all your dishes planned and make a corresponding grocery list so you don’t buy anything unnecessary. Also, be sure to ask your guest if they’re bringing any food so that you can adjust your menu accordingly.


Carve into smaller pieces

Thanksgiving is a time when we come together to celebrate all that we are grateful for. A delicious meal is usually the star of the show, but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. This leaves us with mountains of leftovers that can be difficult to manage. One way to avoid this is to serve smaller and more manageable portions of turkey and sides.

The second helping of turkey can be a hassle. No one wants to cut meat at a table full of people. It’s much more convenient to fill up your plate when the food is well portioned. That’s why I recommend cooking your turkey in smaller manageable portions. People will find it easier to get their fill and they won’t have to worry about taking home leftovers.


Don’t cook a whole turkey

Don’t cook a whole turkey if you’re expecting only a few people. Cook a portion like a turkey breast. This will give you the perfect amount of food to enjoy without any leftovers. Cook a smaller portion like a roasted turkey breast. 

Cooking a turkey breast is a great way to make sure you have enough meat for a delicious meal, without having any Thanksgiving leftovers


Serve other dishes

Many people feel overwhelmed by the prospect of cooking Thanksgiving dinner. There are so many dishes to prepare, and it can be difficult to know how much of each dish to make. One way to simplify things is to serve side dishes instead of a full Thanksgiving meal. This way, you can cook a smaller amount of meat and have more variety on the table.

Serving side dishes is a great way to reduce the amount of meat you cook. A reasonable amount of carbs and veggies on the side helps people balance out the proteins. Try serving some green beans, mashed potatoes, and a Cobb salad. The green beans will provide some crunch and color to your plate, while the mashed potatoes will add creaminess and starch. The Cobb salad is a great way to get some vitamins and minerals in, as well as some healthy fats from the avocado.


5 Ways You Can Use Thanksgiving Leftovers 

Store leftovers

start by, Dividing leftovers into smaller portions and refrigerating or freezing them in eco-friendly containers and allowing them to cool. If you don’t allow a large container or whole turkey to cool down enough, bacteria will have time to multiply and potentially cause food poisoning.

Make sure to label containers with the date and contents. This will help you keep track of how long the leftovers have been in the fridge or freezer.

How long does leftover turkey stay good in the fridge?

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to two months. Use shredded turkey within 3-4 days of refrigeration or 2-6 months of freezing.

How do I make leftover turkey moist again?

If your turkey is dried out, either from being frozen or leftover, there are a few ways to make it moist again. One way is to freeze some gravy with the turkey itself so you can defrost it and have delicious, juicy gravy on top. Another method involves steaming the bird over a double boiler until moisture seeps back into its meat fibers. Once completely thawed, drizzle olive oil generously on top of your creation then wrap it in foil before placing it in an oven heated to 5 minutes on high. In no time at all, you’ll have a deliciously fresh-tasting roasted turkey!


Give food to pet shelters

Many people are left with mountains of food after Thanksgiving. While some may choose to discard the food, there are many better options available. Donating the food to a local animal shelter is one great way to make use of the extra grub. Animals in shelters are often in need of good nutrition, and your donation can help them get it.

Not only will you be helping out animals in need, but you’ll also be reducing the amount of waste produced on Thanksgiving. So before you toss that extra turkey or box of stuffing, think about dropping it off at your nearest pet shelter instead.


Handover leftovers to guests

So, you’ve cooked an amazing Thanksgiving feast and now you have mountains of leftovers. What do you do with them? The best option is to divvy them up among your guests. This way, everyone gets to enjoy their delicious food and no one has to deal with the hassle of storing and reheating leftovers.

If you’re planning on doing this, it’s a good idea to provide your guests with containers so they can take their leftovers home with them. You can either provide disposable containers or reusable ones. If you choose the latter, be sure to remind your guests to wash and return them

distribute in homeless


Share with the homeless

When it comes to Thanksgiving, there’s nothing quite like enjoying a home-cooked meal with family and friends. However, what do you do if you have leftover food? The best thing to do is donate it to a local homeless shelter.

There’s no doubt that nothing is better than sharing a meal with someone in need on Thanksgiving. If you have a few leftover foods in hand, sort them out into individual platters and distribute them amongst the homeless community. Not only will you be helping those in need, but you’ll also be teaching your children the importance of giving back to others.


Try a recipe for turkey leftovers

There are plenty of recipes that can help you use up your leftover turkey. For example, this recipe for turkey enchiladas is a great way to enjoy your leftovers. Another option is this turkey and black bean soup, which is perfect for a cold winter day. Or how about this Thanksgiving pizza? No matter what you choose, a few creative leftover turkey recipes are sure to help you make the most of your food.


Turkey pot pie


2 9-inch pie crusts

1 tablespoon butter

1/2 onion, diced

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 stalk celery, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups turkey stock or broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup milk

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (peas, carrots, green beans)

2 cups cooked and chopped turkey meat



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). 
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Cook until vegetables are tender. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together stock and cornstarch. Add to the skillet and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Stir in milk and return to a boil. 
  4. Remove from heat and stir in frozen vegetables and turkey meat. Pour mixture into 2 9-inch pie crusts. 
  5. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbly.


Leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwich

A classic sandwich has got to be one of the easiest and best leftover turkey recipes.


1/2 cup cranberry sauce 

1/4 cup mayonnaise 

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste 

4 slices hearty multigrain bread 

8 slices oven-roasted turkey breast 

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere cheese 

2 tablespoons butter, melted



  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Spread the cranberry mixture over each slice of bread. Top with 2 slices of turkey, 1/4 cup of cheese, and another slice of bread. Cut the sandwiches in half and place them on a baking sheet.
  4. Brush the tops of the turkey sandwiches with melted butter. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot!


Turkey casserole


3 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 cups cooked and shredded turkey or rotisserie chicken

1 (15 ounces) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 oz frozen peas and 1 oz mushrooms

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves

8 ounces of penne, Cavatappi, or other cylindrical-shaped pasta 



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Now add mushrooms
  3. Stir in shredded turkey or chicken, chickpeas, and frozen peas. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and milk until smooth. Add to the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  5. Stir in Parmesan cheese and parsley leaves. Cook for an additional 5 minutes. 
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions for al dente. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the turkey mixture and stir until well combined. 
  7. Pour mixture into a 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.


Leftover turkey salad


1 leftover turkey 

2 quarts water

1 onion, quartered

1 carrot, peeled and sliced

1 celery rib, sliced

1 bay leaf

3 sprigs of fresh thyme

4 cloves garlic, smashed

2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 cups diced cooked turkey

1 cup diced celery

1/2 cup diced red onion

1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

1/2 cup diced red grapes

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves



  1. Place the turkey in a large pot. Add the water, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, thyme, garlic, white wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 2 hours, or until reduced to 1/4 
  2. Remove the turkey carcass from the pot and discard. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Discard the vegetables.  
  3. Refrigerate the broth overnight. The next day, remove the fat that has solidified on the surface of the broth and discard it.  
  4. In a large bowl, combine the shredded cooked turkey, celery, red onion, green bell pepper, red grapes, and parsley leaves. Add enough of the broth to moisten the salad ingredients to your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve this amazing leftover turkey recipe chilled or at room temperature


No matter how you choose to celebrate, Thanksgiving can still be special this year. With a little creativity and flexibility, we can all enjoy a festive meal while reducing our food waste.


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