Green Eyes On: Five Tips for a Green Thanksgiving Dinner
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Thanksgiving is, hands down, my favorite holiday. For me it means family and friends, warm homes and good, good food. By Thursday afternoon kitchens everywhere will be wafting aromas of pumpkin pies and roasted turkeys. The wine glasses will come out, the sparkling cider will be poured, and families will gather to laugh and visit and (let's be honest) stuff their bellies beyond the point of full.
So how can you have a green Thanksgiving while still paying tribute to the holiday's origins of giving thanks and celebrating the harvest?
1. Go Local and OrganicYou're probably already doing it to some degree in your everyday lives, and special occasions should be no exception. If you're planning to roast a turkey, find one that was raised locally and, preferably, organically. Most small farmers require turkey reservations made well ahead of time (you can do this through local farmers' markets or participating grocery stores): So if you haven't done this already, you may be out of luck this year. Local Harvest, a Web site focused on local foods and local farmers, can also help.
Find other ways to involve local foods as well. Instead of stuffing, serve a creamy polenta made from local, organic corn meal. Mash your own potatoes from locally grown spuds. Toss a salad with greens grown within miles of your home. Many people are engaging in the TreeHugger 100-mile diet challenge or similar eat local challenges.
Photo: Rob Melnychuk/Getty Images
2. Say No to Refined White SugarInstead of using refined white sugar in your Thanksgiving desserts this year, try natural sweeteners. Jessie Hawkins Family Herbalist Course has a great section on sugar substitutes. Honey has a glycemic index that is lower than white sugar, plus it contains healthy antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that white sugar lacks. You can use honey in place of white sugar in your pies and custards at a ratio of ¾ : 1, and reduce other liquids by a quarter of a cup.
Sucanat is simply ground up sugar cane. Because it hasn’t been processed or cooked in any way it still has many naturally occurring vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, B1, B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and others. It is also naturally low on the glycemic index.
Agave nectar, maple syrup, and molasses are other great sugar alternatives.