Breath-taking fall colors…front porch pumpkins…scarecrows…fireplaces crackling…leaf raking…the first frost…the first snowflakes…enticing fragrances from the kitchen. All indicators of the Thanksgiving season when Americans pause to give thanks for our many blessings and freedoms as well as the founding fathers of America who risked their lives to escape the throws of tyranny. Most of us think of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season as being anything but a time to concentrate on health. However, a healthy and “green Thanksgiving” is absolutely possible without giving up many of those tasty dishes in which we look forward to eating. Below are 15 suggestions for enjoying a healthy and “green” Thanksgiving season.
15 Suggestions For a Healthy & Green Thanksgiving Season
1) Purchase a locally-grown free-range, pasture-raised or organic turkey. To make sure that your turkey is moist, bake un-stuffed, leave the skin on while roasting and remove the turkey from the oven when the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees in the turkey breast. Remember that cooking the stuffing outside the turkey saves time, prevents the possibility of food poisoning and keeps the turkey edible for those with certain food allergies.
2) Organic baking ingredients. Stock up on organic baking ingredients to use in all your baking. Many holiday recipes can be easily converted into tasty healthy recipes.
3) Locally grown/organic produce. Prepare eye-appealing side dishes with colorful vegetables that are locally grown or organic vegetables and herbs.
4) Organice Hors d’oeuvres. Prepare organic vegetable trays and organic fruit trays with organic dips as hors d’oeuvres for your guests and familymembers to snack on before the big feast. Offer healthy drinks or hot tea made with organic fruits and juices. For veggies and fruits that are not organic, be sure to check if they are GMO (genetically modified). Non-GMO Thanksgiving Infographic
5) Gluten-free choices. Check ahead of time with any guests that may need some gluten-free food choices. You can find some great recipes athttp://www.pinterest.com/oawhealth/gluten-free-recipes/
6) Scent your home naturally. A naturally scented home smells wonderful! To make your home warm and inviting, simmer in water a few sticks of cinnamon, some orange slices and a few cloves of allspice on the stove. Dab a few drops of pine essential oil or other favorite essential oil on the pine cones that are part of your centerpiece (be careful not to dab too much as a little goes a long way).
7) Reusable Shopping Bags. When grocery shopping for your Thanksgiving menu, be sure to take along your reusable cloth bags in which to put your groceries. Pass on the plastic and paper bags that the store offers.
8) Reusable bakeware. Roast or bake your organic turkey in a reusable roasting pan. One website indicates that if everyone in the United States used a disposable roasting pan to cook their Thanksgiving turkey, there would be 46 million tinfoil pans heading to the landfill every year. In the long run, a reusable roasting pan (non-aluminum, non-coated) will save you money and help our environment.
9) Natural tablescape. Create a Thanksgiving tablescape using with festive plates, silverware and glasses. Even our everyday dishes can be dressed-up for the holidays. Purchase cloth napkins or make your own. The average American uses 2,200 two-ply paper napkins per year — adding up to 662 billion napkins being added to the landfill on an annual basis. Make napkin rings out of grapevine or ribbon. This will save trees creates for less plastics that clog our landfills. Thanksgiving Tablescape Ideas
10) Include the kids. Come up with some activities for younger children that includes them in the preparation and festivities. Children can gather colorful leaves for the table, design place cards for the table, watch a Thanksgiving movie, etc. If including a “children’s table” let them choose and make the decorations for “their” Thanksgiving tablescape. There are some great Thanksgiving Craft Ideas for Children here.
11) Purified Water – Drink up! Stay hydrated during the day. Offer filtered water or make up a large container some of the healthy waters by using fruits and veggies in the water.
12) Healthy Desserts. Even tasty desserts can be made with more healthy ingredients. Always have plain fruit options along with traditional choices. For some great healthy recipes check out http://www.pinterest.com/oawhealth/healthy-foods/
13) Don’t be a couch potato. After the big meal and clean-up time, get some exercise and sunshine by going on a nature walk with the children or engage in a friendly game of touch football. What is Thanksgiving Day without football, right?
14) Un-Plug. Make your home a “digital-device-free-zone” for today. This is a great day to focus on and truly reconnect with your family/guests and to savor your time away from business-as-usual. The majority of even the most pressing issues are able to wait until Friday.
15) Thankfulness. Most important for the entire Thanksgiving season. Prepare for a special time to give thanks for your many blessings. Upon arrival hand each guest (young and old) an index card and pen. Instruct them to write two things they are most thankful for and then either before or after the Thanksgiving meal have each person read their card aloud. Place all cards in a “Basket of Thanks” and have someone express a verbal prayer of thanksgiving.
Bonus Suggestion #1: Don’t forget to recycle and re-use. Use leftover turkey meat and vegetables to make a healthy turkey soup for the next week. Compost potato skins, egg shells, vegetable clippings, etc. Recycle glass containers, newspapers, boxes, etc.
Bonus Suggestion #2: If you’re spending Thanksgiving Day at your parents’ or grandparents’ home, suggest that everyone spend Thanksgiving evening decorating for the Christmas holidays. They’d probably love help getting the Christmas tree out of the basement and setting it up…and ultimately they will enjoy the time spent with you!