Do you enjoy entertaining but want to make it more sustainable for the planet (and your wallet)? You don’t have to spend a lot or make it complicated to create a delicious and environmentally friendly meal your guests will love. Whether you’re throwing a summer barbecue for co-workers or hosting a celebration for extended family, a sustainable menu can offer up big flavor and low costs.
Some sustainable entertaining tips
Celebrate local and in-season
Highlight fresh, in-season, local fare. Ingredients that are in season and local tend to be fresher and more flavorful, and in-season typically means a better price for you, too. Browse your cookbook collection for recipes using the best of the season and make these ingredients the focus on your meal plan. Visit Good Foods for ideas. If you’re planning ahead (good for you!), talk with our produce staff about what Kentucky food and produce will be fresh and available when your event is happening.
The good news is, if your event is soon, we just so happen to be in the peak of our local growing season. Just check out our current offerings chalkboard to the right to see the wide selection now available.
Your co-op can point you to local meats, cheese and other local favorites. If seafood is on the menu, be sure to look for sustainable choices; Seafood Watch offers a handy pocket guide.
And, be sure to look for the Fair Trade label when choosing party favorites like chocolate, coffee, tea and spices (Fair Trade is a great conversation topic, too!).
Keep an eye on value
To make a great party more expensive doesn’t mean better. There’s no need to blow your budget—even when serving a sustainable menu. To save:
- Rely on inexpensive staples like grains and beans. We love Carole’s recipe for Bean & Bacon slaw.
- Buy in bulk for best economy.
- Check out the Good Foods weekly ad and in-store coupon books for upcoming specials that you can incorporate into your plans.
Aim for zero waste:
- Cook the right amount of food. If you overdo, arrange for guests to bring home leftovers.
- Choose reusable plates, linens, and utensils. If you don’t own enough dinnerware to go around, consider borrowing a set from a friend. Or if you go with disposable dinnerware, choose biodegradable products.
- Provide clearly-marked recycling and compost bins for guests.
- Use live plants or food (like a parade of baby squash or a wooden bowl of green apples) for the table decor.
- Print your invites on recycled paper, or, better yet, send e-vites.
This content was provided by Co+op, stronger together. Click on the link for even more entertaining tips and recipes!