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Holiday tips countdown

December 15, 2018

Holiday events bring opportunities to enjoy seasonal food favorites. Continued here is the sixth set of tips for holiday events during this time of year.

Are you one of those organized people who are already prepared for the coming winter holidays? Or do you still have plans to make and gifts to buy? Either way, why not take a second look at some of your usual holiday activities to see if you can make them more “sustainable?”

Sustainability is the responsible use of environmental resources in the present so that future generations will have enough to meet their needs. This is a lofty goal; how can any one person make a difference in reaching it? You may not realize that you are already working toward sustainability if you reuse and recycle; compost; walk, bike, take transit, or drive low-emission vehicles; conserve water and electricity; join community clean-up efforts; or otherwise save resources.

The more people who participate in these energy and resource-saving activities, the greater impact they will have on our planet. And a sustainable planet will result in better health and longer lives for the people and animals that live on it.

For many of us, our priority during the holidays is time spent with family and friends. But the holidays can also be a time when we spend too much and create too much waste. Here are some traditional ideas:

Make your own gifts: knit, sew, bake, build, or create art; make calendars using your own photographs or a recipe book with favorite recipes.

Eat healthy and sustainable foods. Consider these statistics:

• Americans throw away about 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.

• If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.

• About 35 percent of Americans have an unused Christmas present collecting dust in their closets.

Eat sustainable food and avoid disposable containers and extra packaging.

• Research sustainable food choices in your area, and buy locally if possible.

• Buy snacks and beverages in bulk to avoid extra packaging.

• Serve food with washable utensils, plates, and glasses, rather than disposable items.

• Make homemade hot chocolate, wassail, or hot tea.

Why not choose a few of these fun and creative ideas that will be easy for you to incorporate into your holiday celebration? Not only will you contribute to sustainability and health, but chances are you will also simplify your life.

And you may get more of what we all need at this time of year — time to enjoy family and friends and to focus on the joys of the season. Source: cdc.gov/features/greenholidays

Julie Buck, EdD, RDN, is a registered dietitian, food safety and health educator employed at the University of Idaho Extension, Bingham County. She can be reached at (208)785-8060 or jhbuck@uidaho.edu.

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