Thanksgiving Dinner: How Much Water Is on Your Plate?

Thanksgiving Dinner: How Much Water Is on Your Plate?

Did you know the average American family wastes 180 gallons of water per week? That’s 9,400 gallons a year!

Water waste doesn’t just come from washing hands or taking showers. It also comes from the food you eat, and Thanksgiving dinners use a lot of water. 

From the water used to grow vegetables to that used during the shipping process, you’d be surprised how much water is on your plate. Read on to learn all about the water footprint of your Thanksgiving dinner! 

Calculating Your Water Footprint

So, how do you determine how much water is in your food?

The water footprint of your meal includes water used at every step of the process. This means the water your turkey drank, the water used to process the turkey, and that used to transport it. You can calculate your own water footprint by following the math here.  

The Main Dish

Most people opt for a turkey or ham for their Thanksgiving, but, how much water do these large animals use?

One serving of turkey costs between 200-500 gallons of water throughout the farm to table process. On average, a 20 lb turkey uses 9,360 gallons of water. One serving of ham uses closer to 600 gallons. 

Sides, Desserts, and Drinks

Your water footprint for the rest of your meal can vary depending on what your family eats. In general, plants use less water than animal products.

Why is that? Plants need a consistent amount of water and no special housing or processing. Animals need food as well as water. 

Examples of water usage for typical sides and drinks include:

  • Mashed Potatoes: 2528 gallons/bowl
  • Gravy: 50 gallons/can
  • Wine: 50-75 gallons/glass
  • Cranberry Sauce: 1559 gallons/can
  • Coffee: 29 gallons/cup

Now that you’ve calculated the water footprint of your main meal, what about dessert? Pumpkin pie uses about 458 gallons of water.

When it’s all said and done, the average Thanksgiving dinner uses upwards of 20,000 gallons of water.

Save the Water!

Those numbers might seem high, but you can do a lot to save water. 

Buy local to cut water waste during the transportation process. Since plants use less water than animals, try to swap some of your meat-based dishes for plant-based ones. Some ideas include buying fresh produce from your local farmer’s market or swapping mashed potatoes for green beans. 

Did you know you can start saving water right now? By using the proper water filtration systems, you can reduce water waste and have access to excellent quality drinking water. 

Have A Water-Winning Thanksgiving

You don’t need to go vegan to have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving. 

By making a few changes to your menu and where you buy your food, you can cut your water usage in half!

It’s important to remember how lucky we are to have access to clean water. Schedule your free water test today to make sure you have the highest quality water this holiday season. Spend less time worrying about your water quality and more meaningful family time this Thanksgiving!

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