There are lots of ways to make the most of your holiday meal, especially here in plentiful Portland. Did you know many farmers markets reopen for Thanksgiving food shopping? And while we love food composting, we also offer some tips for reducing food waste before you feast.

1.      Plan your meals or special dishes

Be it a holiday gathering, potluck or special dinner, planning your meals or specific dishes ahead of time allows you to get what you need with less waste. Check online for menu planning help to decide how much food you’ll need based on the number of guests. If you’re hosting, serve food buffet style so people can choose the best portions for themselves.

2.      Buy local food

There are some farmers markets open year-round and even more open for Thanksgiving, so it’s a great time to get back out to the market. The farmers market map allows shoppers to find a market based on the neighborhood and the day they want to shop.

Choose from a wide variety of seasonal food that tastes fresh and looks beautiful on your plate, including apples, pears, cranberries, winter squash, hazelnuts, walnuts, chard, kale, leeks, beets and potatoes.

3.      Reduce wasted food

Along with buying seasonal foods, you also have a chance to reduce food waste and make the most of all the food you buy. Often it feels easier to compost your food scraps (which is great!), however, even better is using all the bits you can. The Washington Post recently highlighted a few surprising and delicious food parts you may not be taking advantage of when you cook, like beet greens, squash seeds and citrus rinds.

4.    Save waste at the table, too

There are many waste reduction ideas you can incorporate at the table and in the kitchen. By using durable plates, cloth napkins and serve-ware, you can add beauty to the table, save money over time and reuse these items year after year. Invite your guests to bring reusable Tupperware or casserole dishes so they can take home leftovers (or bring your own if you’re a guest so you get dibs on leftovers too!).

Resources, including mobile apps for meal planning and more, are available at Climate Action Now.