Free Calculator Helps You Prevent Food Waste On Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is delicious, but the estimated food waste every year is damaging the planet. You can make a difference with a little planning and the help of a free customizable calculator.


May 17 2019, Updated 12:59 p.m. ET

It's almost Thanksgiving, which means that many Americans are gearing up to gobble all of their holiday favorites. It's traditional to think of Thanksgiving as a time for excess and gorging on the harvest's bounty, but that outlook pays a price. According to Cooking Light, the Ad Council estimated that the equivalent of six million turkeys ended up wasted last year. That's an enormous amount of food in landfills and other waste management sides, and also a sad misuse of food.

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So in partnership with Natural Resources Defense Council’s Save The Food campaign, the Ad Council has come up with a way to make a more accurate shopping trip for your big day, even considering everyone's second helping of mashed potatoes. Welcome the Guest-Imator.

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The free online calculator allows you to easily figure out exactly how much food you need to buy to satisfy your guest's cravings. And it's fairly customizable. You can consider all your aunts and uncles and hungry cousins. Even better? You can add on people by appetite!

There are also options like “classic Thanksgiving,” “veggie paradise,” or “smorgasbord," in case you don't adhere to the usual Thanksgiving cuisine. The numbers are broken down and assigned to each person at the end, so you have a great overview for how it'll all look, instead of just taking it by the number.

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Peter Wagoner, Associate Creative Director at the firm behind the calculator, released a statement saying that the calculator knows food math better than we do, basically. 

“Consumers want to cut back on food waste, but they aren't always sure how to do that,” he explained. “[The Guest-imator] incorporates a little-known food prep secret: the more dishes you prepare, the smaller each one needs to be. Because guests usually end up sampling multiple things and therefore have less of each.”

Wow, that's actually incredibly helpful!

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And it doesn't have to be used just once a year. Use the Guest-Imator anytime you're cooking a big dinner and save on money, care for the planet, and nail being the perfect host. All it takes is a little planning.

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