LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — From turkey to ham, stuffing to green beans, Americans have loved Thanksgiving dinner enough to overbuy, under eat, and waste millions of pounds of food every year.
Jaden Hair, the founder of food blog Steamy Kitchen, said, on average, Americans waste 45 million pounds of green beans, 30 million pounds of gravy, and 200 million pounds of turkey.
“That’s just thrown away and wasted,” she said.
Her blog has focused on ways to avoid food waste in daily life, and Hair said there are several key ways to cut down on waste while maintaining taste this holiday season.
She said it starts with a little pre-planning.
“Only buy what you need," Hair said, "and I know everyone says, yes, I know that. That makes common sense, but common sense isn’t always common practice.”
Hair said to get the math right, people should follow a recipe appropriate for the number of people gathering for dinner before heading to the grocery store.
She said it also helps to label ingredients people don't normally buy with ideas for other dishes as they buy them to avoid leaving them forgotten in the fridge.
“Having a note that you stick on the package will help you jog your memory, and give you a recipe idea instantly.”
Hair said there is bound to be food leftover regardless of meticulous planning ahead of time, and she has developed tips to make use of those as well.
First, Hair suggested getting creative with bold seasoning to keep leftover item's flavor profiles fresh.
“You might be like, oh, this is an amazing Thanksgiving dinner," she said, "but nobody wants to have Thanksgiving four days in a row.”
Hair said people should consider serving sauces on the side, not smothering dishes on Thanksgiving Day, to keep everything from getting soggy in storage.
She said breaking leftovers down into smaller portions, bagging them, and labeling them for use in future dishes would also help inspire at-home chefs for days to come.