If you picture Thanksgiving – family, traditions, and of course food come to mind. With all the preparation that goes into orchestrating the perfect Thanksgiving meal, it can be easy to neglect the environment.

Here are a few tips to ensure that doesn't happen this year and to help you prepare for a more eco-friendly Thanksgiving:

Shop Local and Organic

Eating locally grown food is one of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint and shopping local and organic for Thanksgiving should be no different. Doing so also means you'll be serving the freshest food to your family and friends because the produce and products haven't had to travel across the globe to the grocery store or farmer's market. Simply put, shopping local and opting for certified organic groceries will ensure you have an eco-friendly Thanksgiving meal this year.

Forgo the Turkey 

Thanksgiving is about "giving" not the turkey, so this year, consider going vegetarian and forgoing the turkey altogether. A forecasted 244 million turkeys are raised each year in the U.S. for Thanksgiving which is up 4.5 percent from 2015. That's an unnatural amount of turkeys which are, for the most part, jampacked into warehouses, genetically modified, and mutilated without the use of anesthesia. On top of that, people often forget that in the wild, turkeys are actually intelligent, playful, and social creatures.

Needless to say, it wouldn't hurt to forgo the turkey this year or at least cut down on the amount of meat that's served. After all, the turkey is more of an iconic table piece. We all know, the best part of the meal are the side dishes and the dessert.

Invest in Eco-Friendly Thanksgiving Dinnerware

Everyone loves a festive, well-decorated house in which to spend Thanksgiving. This year, however, try to stick to eco-friendly decor and reusable dinnerware such as cloth napkins and ceramic plates. If you're celebrating Thanksgiving someplace where you can only use disposable items, shop for products like napkins and plates that are made from 100% recycled paper or that are biodegradable. Don't forget to pack everything up into reusable bags.

Wherever you decide to feast this year, just be sure to make choices that will ensure you and your family have a happy and eco-friendly Thanksgiving.