‘Tis the Season to be Sustainable

by Alexandra Huerta, Dietetic Intern Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

As Thanksgiving and the winter holidays approach, consider expressing your appreciation to the environment by celebrating more sustainably! Here are a few tips to help you minimize your impact on the environment this holiday season!

Support your local farmers by purchasing in-season, local produce for your holiday meals. Citrus fruits, green beans, zucchini, yellow squash and green beans are just some of the Florida products currently available at grocery stores, farmer’s markets and produce stands. Just look for the Fresh from Florida logo.

Plan for proper (and smaller) portions. Get a headcount before that holiday party and do some research into how much food is needed to serve your guests. By preparing the proper amount of food, you can cut down on food waste and hopefully keep “everyone’s waist” in check this season as well.

Turn those leftovers into tasty “planned overs”. Leftovers often have a bad reputation. Sometimes they get shoved to the back of the refrigerator and later thrown out. Instead of letting them go to waste or serving the same reheated dishes from the holiday meal, turn them into planned overs. Different than typical leftovers, “planned-over” recipes are created to re-imagine the ingredients from that holiday meal into something completely new and delicious. With just a few extra ingredients, the turkey can be the “star” of a soup, salad, sandwich or chili. For some recipe ideas go to:
http://food.unl.edu/fnh/turkey

Ditch the disposables. Using reusable china plates and utensils whenever possible, especially when hosting a large event, reduces the waste of disposables.

For more information on sustainability topics go to:
http://solutionsforyourlife.ufl.edu/sustainable_living/