You can cut down on food waste and be the host with the most.

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Welcome to Thrifty. A weekly column where associate nutrition editor and registered dietitian, Jessica Ball, keeps it real on how to grocery shop on a budget, make healthy meals for one or two and make earth-friendly choices without overhauling your entire life.

I love Thanksgiving. There is something so special to me about a holiday that is focused on gathering around a table with people you love (check out my tips for hosting if it's your first time). That said, there is one part of Thanksgiving that I have a love-hate relationship with: leftovers. On the one hand, I love having leftover potato pancakes for breakfast or eating cold stuffing straight from the fridge (don't yuck my yum). Plus, leftover turkey and cranberry sauce have led to some of the most glorious sandwiches I've ever made. But on the other hand, leftovers can be a lot, quantity-wise. They take up a lot of room in the fridge and it feels like the expiration clock starts ticking the second you package them up. Even though I love Thanksgiving foods, I don't want to eat the same thing for weeks on end. 

Luckily, there is one trick that helps solve my leftovers conundrum: have ample food storage containers on hand to send leftovers home with guests. With a little planning ahead, this can become the best of both worlds. Guests will be happy to make turkey sandwiches or enjoy sides for the week even though they didn't host. Also, this will leave you with just the right amount of leftovers, so you can actually enjoy them. Goodbye stress and food waste! 

young woman placing flowers on a dining room table
Credit: Adobe Stock / Jordan

Personally, I am on a budget so I like to clean and save deli cups, yogurt containers and other food packaging that can be used as a food storage container. It's free and upcycles what would be thrown away, two things I love. But if you prefer actual containers, you're in luck. There are several Black Friday deals already available online like this 22-Piece Rubbermaid Container Set ($31.49, BedBathAndBeyond.com), four sizes of these EleaEleanor Food Storage Containers (from $6.78, Walmart.com) and this 12-Piece Pyrex Storage Set ($23.99, Macys.com). (For other picks, check out the best food storage containers, according to our editors and Test Kitchen experts.)

If you are hosting a Thanksgiving with family or friends that feel like family, make sure you have plenty of food storage containers on hand. Sharing leftovers will make for happy guests that are eager to come back next year. Plus, it can save you the pang of guilt from throwing away foods you worked so hard to prepare. For more, check out these ten tips to help you cut down on food waste outside of Thanksgiving.