Following are seven easy ways to create a greener and healthier Thanksgiving feast.
1) Roughly a third of the meat on every turkey goes straight into the garbage. If you tend not to finish your leftovers, buy a smaller bird this year. Try an organic, local or heritage turkey, or one raised without antibiotics. Or embrace a seasonal centerpiece of stuffed winter squash.
2) Cranberry sauce is delicious, but most store-bought varieties are more than 30 percent sugar. Make your sauce from scratch for great flavor and a nutritional boost. Use less than two-thirds of a cup of sugar per 12 ounces of cranberries, and opt for organic cranberries if you can. Conventional berries are heavily treated with pesticides.
3) Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving tradition, with good reason. Pumpkin is packed with nutrition, widely available and generally low in pesticides.
4) White potatoes make EWG’s Dirty DozenTM list because of high pesticide loads. Try opting for organic to reduce your exposure to potentially hazardous pesticide residues.
5) Homemade gravy is a delicious way to get the most out of your turkey, but packs in the empty calories. Store-bought gravy can contain heart-damaging trans fats and too much sodium. Enjoy gravy in small doses or try a light, flavorful mushroom ragout instead.
6) Stuff your stuffing with low-pesticide produce. Organic apples, celery, pears and carrots perk up stuffing and add nutritional punch. Walnuts and pecans work nicely in place of sausage.
7) Green beans are a Thanksgiving staple, but canned options can be high in bisphenol A, a toxic chemical in the epoxy that lines most metal food cans. Go for fresh or frozen organic green beans or other nutritious veggies like peas, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Check out our Five Fabulous Finds in the Frozen Food Aisle for some great tips on shopping in the frozen aisle.