Holiday Food is an important part of any holiday celebration.    

Holiday food sets the tone of your party. Eating together gives family and friends that nurtured feeling. If your household is a green one then holiday meals may present more of a challenge for you then others. Routines will be disrupted also family and friends may have a different opinion about green living. So, with that in mind holiday planning will help you continue your green lifestyle with a minimum of fuss.  You will read about ideas on food preparation, tips about menus and party food selections as well as tips on green dinnerware. When I think of holidays and green living I want to have food that is comforting, festive and healthy, an evening shared with  family and friends, creating memories. 

Organic and Local Foods

To start with, many towns have farmers markets and produce stands going strong into holiday season. Take a good look at what produce is in season for your area. Purchasing produce that is local helps reduce energy useage for transportation, which also reduces our carbon footprint. Equally important is the reduced use of chemicals to keep your produce fresh during transport. (Chemicals that are linked to cancer, ADHD, immune disorders). Ask your local grower if any of the produce and fruits he carries are organic. (pesticides used on non- organic fruits and vegetables are linked to cancers, ADHD, behavior problems, allergies , immune disorders, Parkinsons, arthritis). If it's not local keep it organic. Look for small growers so that you can ask questions. After you have exhausted your local and organic resources, hit the grocery stores and health food stores, ask the same questions. You don't have to make seperate trips to do this, call and ask by phone. (save yourself money, time and energy use) Combine car trips with other trips that you routinely make. Ask if you can place an order ahead of time so your local grower will know how much is needed for the holiday. Don't forget fresh herbs, ask if they have organic.

Food Preparation

Cooking for larger groups then you normally do, can lead to confusion in the kitchen if you don't take a few minutes to plan. How many items are cooking in the oven?  Keep it green by cooking more then one item together. (reduse energy use) Using a Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker cuts down cooking time. (reduse's energy usage) Use pots and pans that are BPA free and Teflon free. (both are endicrin disruptors) You can use clay pots, stainless steel, glass or bamboo serving dishes. Serve cold salads or cold finger foods. Also, buying items in bulk will cut down on the amount of packaging you use. Lastly make sure you have a clearly marked recycle container set out for food preparation and family members that do not know their way around your kitchen.

Menus

Putting together your holiday menus has a lot do with your entertaining style. First, how many people will be attending the party? Second, Is your gathering formal or informal? Third, Do you have enough room for a sit down dinner or will you be serving buffet style? Once you have those decisions down it becomes easier to start putting together the information with your entertaining style. Then the real fun begins! Food!  What Easy Holiday Recipes  will we use, how will we serve, and on what? Are you an advocate of whole food eating?  The more whole grains and foods that are consumed closest to its natural state, the greener and healthier we are. (least amount of packaging, pesticides, chemicals, hormones, non food additives) Do you have favorite family recipes for the holiday? Green it up by using local, organic and healthy alternatives. For instance take a prepackaged frozen candied sweet potatoe dish and make it yourself: You need Sweet potatoes, butter, brown sugar and cinnamon or nutmeg (you can splurge and put marshmallows on top or pecans/walnuts mixed in the with sweet potatoes). All of these ingredients can be purchased organic or local. Also you can take the time to reintroduce common holiday foods in a natural state. Examples would be instead of cranberry sauce out of a can, cook the cranberrys with a bit of sugar, chill and serve. A different simple twist. Another would be instead of stuffing the turkey with bread stuffing create your own rice pilaf. A healthy alternative. Whatever seating arrangements you've chosen make sure you take time to reuse or repurpose some of last years choices for your table settings. If you are just starting out, the local thrift shops usually have nice displays of dishes around the holidays and you can mix and match a beautiful table setting, also you can check out ebay or craigslist. Keep the table cover and napkins the same design for continuety. REuse again the next year. If you have to use plastic or paper products use corn or recycled products such as Preserve Recycled Plastics or Seventh Generation paper products or Chinet Enviro Rimmed. As you listen to all the new updates from family and close friends (we all get it), you can rest assured you are doing your part to keep your family healthy and as sustainable as possible; leaving you not worry about links to cancer, heart disease  or family history's. In short, you get to enjoy your Christmas Day, with your family, comfortably living your green lifestyle.

Quick GGT Holiday Tips

Don't forget to check back in the oven right before you sit down at the dinner table. Many side dishes have been left in the oven through dinner. If you want a fluffier cookie ,add baking powder instead of baking soda. So if it calls for 1 teaspoon baking powder and 1 teaspoon baking soda add 2 teaspoons of baking powder no teaspoons of baking soda. Reverse if you prefer crispy cookies. Also, make sure you change your baking powder before you start your holiday baking. You will create flat cakes and bars if it isn't fresh. Click here to see Green Guide Tips  selection of Greener-Gifts or Green the Halls or Holiday Stress Relief  or Cards for Less or Budget Green.