So many Americans love Thanksgiving. After all, it’s an opportunity to share a delicious feast with their families. However, there are so many ways that we’re not being completely conscious about our actions as we’re enjoying this feast. We came up with ways to have a conscious Thanksgiving this year.

For instance, what about the cultural implications? What about what our feasting and food waste does for the environment and for others that aren’t as fortunate as to be able to have a feast? 

If you’re interested in how you can enjoy your Thanksgiving in a conscious way that’ll be good for your conscience, read on.

Reduce Waste

How to Have a Conscious Thanksgiving This Year, reduce waste

Thanksgiving is a major feast for America. But with excess comes a lot of waste. On average, 200 million pounds of food go to waste each Thanksgiving. There are tens of millions of Americans that don’t even get to each anything on Thanksgiving. So this level of wastefulness is extremely sad because if all that waste was going to hungry Americans, each of them would be able to have something to each.

Consider how much everyone is going to actually eat and how long your leftovers will actually keep before you cook. Calculate serving sizes so that you don’t create an unnecessary amount of waste.

Compost & Use Reusable Dishes

How to Have a Conscious Thanksgiving This Year, compost & use reusable dishes

Compost is a great thing for the earth that also helps reduce your carbon footprint. It can seem difficult to compost- especially if you’re living in an apartment. So here is an article from Forbes on How to Make a Compost Pile in a Small Apartment. Anyone can compost if they want to!

Moreover, it can be tempting to use throw-away plastic silverware and paper dishes if you’re having a lot of people over. But you can generate so much less waste if you avoid taking the easy way out. Who knows? You can probably ask your family and friends to help you do the dishes!

Go Vegetarian

How to Have a Conscious Thanksgiving This Year, go vegetarian

Eating meat all the time isn’t the best thing for the environment. It adds to your carbon footprint. If you’re interested in discovering more about that fact, check out our article on What You Need to Know About Vegetarian Awareness Month and also explore the links within the article.

Now, you don’t have to go vegetarian and deny yourself beloved meat for all time. But if you want to make a difference on a microlevel, you can opt for a vegetarian Thanksgiving this year. You might find that you kind of like tofurkey…

Buy Organic, Fair Trade, and Free Range

How to Have a Conscious Thanksgiving This Year, buy organic, fair trade, and free range

Even if you don’t want to go vegetarian for Thanksgiving, buying organic and fair trade is another option that is overall great for the planet and for the communities where these foods come from.

It might be pricier but it is worth it. Non-organic fruits and vegetables are often sprayed with pesticides, which is additionally bad for you. And when things aren’t fair trade, you can’t be sure that the community workers that helped produce them received ethical treatment. Moreover, picking free-range animals mean that the animals you eat were treated ethically and lived much better lives than their counterparts.

Decolonize Your Thanksgiving

How to Have a Conscious Thanksgiving This Year, decolonize your thanksgiving

Many Americans fail to remember the violence and displacement done to Indigenous American peoples through colonization. In fact, in grade school, dressing up like a “Native American” was probably a norm for celebrating Thanksgiving.


Tiffani Patton wrote a great article on Resources to Decolonize Thanksgiving if you’re interested in learning more. The Indigenous American people colonizers stole everything from are so overlooked and not respected enough as they deserve this time of year. It is absolutely worth getting educated to be more respectful of our fellow human beings.