I *LOVE* the holidays. I love the traditions, the food, the decorations, the food, the gift giving, the family gatherings, and—did I mention the food? 😉
But too often we use this special time of year as an excuse to do things that aren’t very good for us or for the environment: we eat too much, we spend too much money, we demand too much of ourselves and our families, and none of it is very sustainable.
That’s why this week’s Sustainable Eating tip is…
Have a Sustainable Holiday
- Upgrade your main course.
Turkey is the go-to protein for Thanksgiving dinners, and the best choice you can make is an heirloom bird. Sometimes also called heritage turkeys, these are defined by their its bloodline, which can be traced back hundreds of years to the first domesticated flocks in our country. These were the birds the pilgrims and native cultures ate, but commercial production nearly wiped them out. In a sort of strange catch-22, the only way to save these breeds of birds is to buy them and eat them—so that farmers will continue to raise them and the bloodlines won’t disappear forever. The website Local Harvest can help you find a heritage turkey farmer in your area, or, if you live near a Whole Foods Market, you can order one from the butcher. If you can’t go heirloom, look for free-range and organic turkeys at your regular market.
**BONUS: If you live in Colorado, I’ve rounded up some local sources for turkeys and hams for Yellow Scene.
- Make seasonal dishes.
I hate to break this to you guys, but green bean casserole and creamed corn are not really autumn dishes. Yeah, you could use frozen veggies, but what would be even better is to revamp your holiday menu to include balsamic honey-glazed Brussels sprouts, wild rice and squash casserole, or pureed cauliflower with garlic and parmesan. Luckily, cranberries, sweet potatoes and pumpkin are all valid seasonal choices!
- Buy local.
Maybe this seems like a no-brainer after reading 13 weeks of these sustainable eating tips, but buying local is ultimately one of the very best ways to eat sustainably. As a bonus, it makes eating seasonally a breeze!
- Go meatless.
Ok, so don’t yell at me, but if you really wanted to have an über-sustainable feast, you’d nix the meat altogether. That doesn’t mean you have to break out the Tofurkey! Try a grain-stuffed squash as a main dish—or just load up on all your favorite side dishes. Sometimes the sides are the best part of the meal, anyway.