Nobody knows food and personal culture like those in the kitchen, and Thanksgiving dinner 2022 is filled with challenges and opportunities as you plan and serve the most popular family meal of the year. You don’t need to flinch when some of your arriving guests remind you that they are primarily herbivores, as there is plenty of information and plenty of innovation available to help you create a memorable and eco-friendly meal.
This Thanksgiving dinner is your chance to join a wide public embrace of plant-based eating. They can positively impact the health of people and the planet while opening up a world of culinary experiences. Don’t worry — you don’t have to attend SXSW food-focused panels to demonstrate your climate awareness. Think of this Thanksgiving dinner as an opportunity to combine comfort food with climate awareness, making vegetarians, vegans, pescetarians and rare animal eaters feel welcome at your table.
Buy locally grown and sourced groceries. You can show that you’re cultivating a regenerative food revolution by respecting the produce that’s grown right next to you. Consumers have long since moved away from where their food is grown. But many brands and farmers are really trying to connect their fields and places of business to consumers, and they see the power of the connections between eaters and the sources of our food. You can share stories around the table of meeting farmers and friends who appreciate how locally grown food creates important economic opportunities, provides health benefits and helps reduce environmental impact. It also helps bring the community together and gives people the power to make a difference.
Target the next generation. College students’ exposure to climate change science leads to stronger beliefs and support for climate action—like choosing more alternative meats. Fast food companies are becoming experts at using advertising and marketing strategies aimed at young people. You can too – by bringing a variety of plant-based, high-protein foods to your table. Plant-based meat alternatives can be a simple accompaniment to a traditional food like turkey, sausage, or ham. In dinner conversations, bring up how plant-based dining is becoming mainstream in restaurants.
Give home-made plant-based recipes a generous dose. While adding processed plant products to your Thanksgiving dinner menu is easy, these frozen foods are little more than a stepping stone to a healthy, plant-based diet. Express your love for your non-meat guests by cooking and baking delicious plant-based recipes like these from the Vegetarian times Thanksgiving Archives. It shows that you are part of a tasty, healthy, fair and sustainable food culture.
Describe your plant-based recipes eloquently. Words suggest flavors that inspire your guests’ dining choices, so your food language helps inspire anticipation and persuade even a hesitant guest to try something new. Nowhere is this food language more important than in the area of plant-based foods. Draw on a mix of language, history, and food to appeal to flexitarians and others who may be interested in meatless meals.
Replace old grains in one or more recipes. As the impact of the climate crisis deepens, farmers around the world are rediscovering ancient crops. They develop new hybrids that might prove more resilient in the face of drought or epidemics. These grains offer higher nutritional importance than modern grains like corn, rice, and wheat; They are excellent sources of fiber and protein. Some of the ancient grains reduce obesity through weight loss. They also add better flavor and texture to recipes.
Talk about the benefits of eating plants for protein. The wonderful thing about getting protein from plant sources is that they are free from the long list of health risks associated with consuming animal products. High-protein, plant-based foods to include in your recipes include soy, beans, lentils, quinoa, chia seeds, brown rice, and green peas. (Check out these sample plant-based protein diet menus.)
Celebrate plant-based justice efforts. The plant-based food movement has reached consumers in more affluent urban areas fairly well, but hasn’t always been as accessible and affordable to people elsewhere. Show that you are aware that the plant-based food industry is trying to become fairer, more accessible and more accessible to more people.
Know the facts about herbal properties. Become one of the people actively involved in food systems and their impact on the environment. A vegetarian diet means 2.5 times less CO2 emissions than a meat diet. As the climate crisis unfolds, your advocacy can become a starting point to highlight the urgency of strengthening our food and farming systems.
Acknowledge the environmental impact of the red meat and poultry you serve for Thanksgiving dinner. There is an urgent need to halt the degradation of natural resources and limit global warming to less than 2°C, while providing nutritious diets for a growing and changing world population. Meat and dairy production consumes 83% of arable land and accounts for 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, but provides only 18% of the calories and 37% of the protein. A 70 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and land use, and a 50 percent reduction in water use could be achieved by shifting western diets to more sustainable, plant-based diets.
Casually mention famous vegans and vegetarians during the dinner conversation. Mention how you learned that actor/climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio has joined Formula 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton in Neat Foods. His pioneering approach to alternative foods makes DiCaprio one of the famous plant-based vegans. By swapping meat and dairy for plant-based alternatives, these prominent vegans are helping the grocery market move in a healthier, plant-based direction.
Final Thoughts on Thanksgiving Dinner
A food culture can increase the abundance of edible plant varieties around the world. It can also strengthen the Food Sovereignty and Food Justice movements by drawing attention to different food traditions. When you change the traditional recipes that have been served up for generations in your family for Thanksgiving dinner by following the advice in this article, you honor the relationship between family, responsibly raised animals, plants, and soil health.
More and more people seem to be ready for a plant-based future. Your warm welcome to flexitarians and other herbivores shows that you take sustainability seriously and want to contribute to a safer, healthier future for planet earth. Your guests will surely appreciate your gestures and efforts to help us all become Citizen Eaters.
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