ATTRIBUTION: Foodista (Flickr)

Each year, our friends and family gather to enjoy a feast of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and other festive fare. This Thanksgiving is set to be the yummiest and healthiest yet, as we will be choosing local and organic foods to create our holiday dinner. Organic foods are generally free of harmful chemicals and byproducts, such as GMOs, pesticides, hormones, and antibiotics. Organic foods are not only healthier for your body, but they often taste better. Make your Thanksgiving dinner a success by choosing to cook organic.

Choose Your Turkey

The turkey is the centerpiece of most Thanksgiving meals. Make it a sight to be seen by choosing an organic or free-range turkey. A heritage turkey may also be the right option for you. Heritage turkeys are often leaner, leggier, and more flavorful. Organic turkeys are raised with access to fresh air and an all-natural diet. You can find organic and free-range turkeys at many grocery stores and from local farmers.

Integrate Fruits and Veggies

Organic fruits and vegetables are nutritious and complement a Thanksgiving turkey. Buy your fresh fruits and veggies locally to support your local farmers and to obtain the freshest food available. There are many ways to incorporate fruits and veggies into your holiday dinner. Cook the turkey in a roasting pan over a bed of carrots, celery, and onions. Use local fruits in your holiday desserts, such as a homemade apple pie or pumpkin cake.

Use In-Season Ingredients

Eat foods that are in season where you live for the freshest and best-tasting dishes. Depending on where you live, you can likely find seasonal produce at your local grocery store or farmers’ market. Buying local, seasonal, and organic produce is not only better for you, but it also reduces your carbon footprint and aids the local economy. Fall fruits and veggies like cranberries and cabbage also offer essential vitamins and antioxidants.

Opt to Go Meat-Free

If you wish to do Thanksgiving the vegetarian way, consider going meat-free. Create a substitute main dish that is just as delicious and filling as a turkey. Some families opt for a Tofurky, which is essentially a vegan “turkey” made with organic tofu. Other alternatives include a pumpkin pot pie made with roasted pumpkin, celery, carrots, kale, and kidney beans. Also consider a creamy roasted butternut squash risotto, which uses vegetable broth and olive oil to create a rich consistency.

Design a Frugal Tablescape

This Thanksgiving, cut down on waste by avoiding the use of paper and plastic products. Instead, break out the real, reusable dishes, silverware, and cloth napkins. Even your table décor can be frugal. Instead of purchasing store-bought decorations, consider making your own. For example, a mini pumpkin can be transformed into a harvest candle. At the end of your Thanksgiving meal, be sure to recycle any glass, plastic, or aluminum items used. Send any leftover fruit or vegetable scraps to your compost bin. If you don’t have a compost bin, you can use your Thanksgiving produce trimmings to start one.