Mashed potatoes, juicy tender turkey, crimson cranberries, golden yams, maybe a little bit of pumpkin pie and homemade whipped cream to wash it all down. I know, you're probably salivating just thinking about it. Thanksgiving is here, and for most people this means a time to turn the freshman fifteen into twenty or thirty. Time to celebrate family, and enjoy a break from our bustling lives to be thankful for all that we have. But, after the very last possible piece of pie has been stuffed down your guzzle, and remnants of dinner rolls wiped from your face, when we are all falling into the turkey stupor, let us not ruin the occasion by contributing to global food waste. Be thankful not wasteful.

Pack the turkey and taters in a container for tomorrow, or make the famous Friends post-thanksgiving sandwich, but whatever you do, do not throw away perfectly good food. It may seem obvious: why throw away mom's famous pumpkin pie? But actually, roughly one-third of all American food goes to waste every single year. Fifty percent of this is produce, which means the strawberries and grapes that weren't chosen to make auntie's famous fruit salad, end up in the trash, wasted.

I'll try to put that in perspective for some of us broke college kids: this is 160 billion dollars gone to waste every year. That's billions of dollars in food, which is basically all we spend our money on anyway...tragic, I know.

If you want to help the tragedy this holiday season, and throughout the year, here are some helpful tips:

Don't Discriminate: Ugly Food Has Feelings Too

kale, swiss chard, organic vegetables, fresh vegetables, local vegetables, local farm, shop local, farmer's market, vegetable, carrot, broccoli
Sam Jesner

Especially when we are making our holiday meals, we like to pick out the prettiest produce: the brightest red apples and the potatoes with no weird lumps or craters. But, with this mindset, no one buys the food that doesn't look perfect, and it eventually gets thrown out. Sometimes, the food that doesn't look absolutely pristine, doesn't even make it off the farm, and is left to rot.

Don't discriminate against this food. It's silly really, it won't stay pretty for long, whether it's being baked into a dish or chomped on by you. In fact, some studies show that ugly food is often more nutritious. There is a movement (mostly in Europe) called the ugly food movement, where organizations buy back food that suppliers will throw away to sell to themselves. Follow the lead of those over the pond and buy some ugly food next time you're at the supermarket.

Don't Be Afraid of Leftovers!

spring rolls, vegetable, bread, pastry
Hana Brannigan

There's this strange myth going around that food is only good when it's fresh. I don't know about you guys, but turkey and mashed potatoes has a new kind of awesome to it when it's a couple days old and warmed up. And hello? Pumpkin pie for breakfast? I know I do it. But even outside the holiday context, we have to remember refrigerators are powerful and important inventions, and leftovers, are a bomb consequence. However, do not put leftovers away, feeling super woke after reading this article, and then never actually eat the food. Food is food and not everyone has it. Before going out and buying more food, eat your leftovers.

Be More Aware:

Spread the word; tell your friends. Part of the issue is that not enough people know about global food waste. I didn't realize that I could be contributing to the 60 million tons of food that end up in the garbage each year. And this number is for America alone: we are the leaders in contributing to this global problem, and that is most definitely not something to be thankful for. It can be simple, make it into a habit. Learn to love leftovers, because guys I promise, cold pizza is not the only gem. Only order what you can eat, because we all know portion sizes could feed a family these days. Buy an ugly apple and prove to yourself that it is just as good. After all, it all ends up the same place.