Instead of: That gooey cheese appetizer with crackers.
Smarter Swap: Endive boats. Endive is a great way to incorporate some in-season produce into your holiday meal, without sparing the calorie costs. Try mixing up some low-fat cream cheese, green onion, chopped red bell-pepper, chopped pimento-stuffed olives, Tabasco sauce, and topping off some Endive leaves with the mixture for a tasty pre-turkey snack that your guests are sure to enjoy.
Instead of: Whipped cream. Skip the cream to skim on calories and eco-impact.
Smarter Swap: Scattering of chopped nuts with savory/sweet contrasts all the craze, a smattering of toasted pistachios or walnuts is the way to go.
Instead of: Sausage stuffing.
Smarter Swap: Try mushroom or dried fruit stuffing in place of the traditional sausage stuffing to decrease your food "footprint." Since meat and dairy make up roughly 50% of a family's "foodprint," and typical sausage contains a whopping 37 grams of fat, switching to vegetarian stuffing is great option to lean AND green your Thanksgiving plate.
Instead of: A turkey from your local supermarket.
Smarter Swap: A meat-free Thanksgiving ultimately has the lowest environmental impact, but if turkey is the tradition, try swapping that bird that's travelled across the country for a locally bred turkey. Local farms raise small flocks of organic turkeys that are truly free-range. Check out the Local Harvest site to find local breeders in your area.
Instead of: Plastic silverware.
Smarter Swap: Every year, Americans throw out enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. Sacrifice ease of clean up for easy on the environment by using regular silverware, cups, and plates for mealtime. It's more eco-friendly, and it also turns an ordinary meal into a special occasion.
Got any other swap ideas to make your Thanksgiving more lean and green? I'd love to hear them!