Space Stuffing? Here's What Astronauts Will Eat in Orbit This Thanksgiving

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station plan on getting creative with their Thanksgiving meal in orbit. 

To commemorate Thanksgiving this year, the astronauts on board the International Space Station shared a video of themselves discussing the holiday and what it means to them. But they couldn't talk about Thanksgiving without at least mentioning food. As astronaut Andrew Morgan said in the video, "When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of friends, family and food." 

"We've talked a lot about our friends and family, but we're also going to be enjoying a lot of really great food on board the International Space Station," he added. 

Morgan, along with fellow astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, talked about a variety of packages of "space food" that they'll be munching on this holiday weekend. And, while their choices include classics like turkey and sweet potatoes, the astronauts plan to get a little bit creative, mixing and matching their options.

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The pouches of premade food for their Thanksgiving feast will include "vegetables, of course, green beans and potatoes," Morgan said. "There's the winner, the turkey," Koch added, joking that "I wanna know who's gonna carve the turkey in a pouch." 

"Sweet potatoes were always a huge hit in my house," Meir said, as pouches of unidentifiable food packages floated around them. Morgan then picked up another one of the pouches, which are only vaguely recognizable by color. "This one will require reconstituting. We'll add a little bit of water, and it'll become delicious macaroni and cheese," he said. 

Meir, in picking up a packet of cornbread dressing, got a creative idea for how crewmembers could make the food look a little bit more like what's served during the holiday meal on Earth. 

"This will be great, we can maybe stuff it inside the turkey, just to make it like a real stuffing," she said. 

Getting creative

The crew continued to build on this interesting idea. When Koch introduced the dessert, or what she describes as "the best part," she said that crewmembers are "coming up with some ideas of how we might create our own pumpkin pie, maybe with a little bit of cookies stuffed in the pouch of candied yams."

With their pouches in tow, including a cranberry-apple dessert and one of Morgan's favorites — canned, jellied cranberry sauce — the crew signed off, wishing a "happy Thanksgiving" to everyone watching.

Hopefully, the crew can figure out some winning combinations with their holiday food pouches: They are highly likely to experience menu fatigue, a phenomenon that astronauts and military personnel have reported. Those who experience it get tired of eating, including the foods they might usually enjoy. Menu fatigue can put astronauts at risk for nutritional deficiencies, weight loss and more. 

Follow Chelsea Gohd on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

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Chelsea Gohd
Senior Writer

Chelsea “Foxanne” Gohd joined in 2018 and is now a Senior Writer, writing about everything from climate change to planetary science and human spaceflight in both articles and on-camera in videos. With a degree in Public Health and biological sciences, Chelsea has written and worked for institutions including the American Museum of Natural History, Scientific American, Discover Magazine Blog, Astronomy Magazine and Live Science. When not writing, editing or filming something space-y, Chelsea "Foxanne" Gohd is writing music and performing as Foxanne, even launching a song to space in 2021 with Inspiration4. You can follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd and @foxannemusic.