Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are grateful for, but it’s also a holiday associated with a large meal and often a whole day of eating! While most people might look forward to a delicious meal, some may feel more stressed about planning and preparing this festive feast!

Instead of feeling frantic this Thanksgiving, let’s dive into some meal-prep hacks and simple meal planning strategies that can make life easier during this hectic holiday!

Meal Planning Tips

  • Create a menu ahead of time.
  • Choose recipes that are simple to prevent feeling overwhelmed by all that you have to accomplish.
  • Slow cooker or pressure cooker recipes are great options as they cut down on time in the kitchen to allow for more time spent relaxing with family and/or friends.
  • Speaking of family and friends, if it’s possible, make Thanksgiving a pot-luck meal, which cuts down on the amount of prep work for each person.
  • Consider healthier recipes that add vibrance and highlight those plant-based options. Try roasted butternut squash and brussels sprouts with pomegranate seeds. Or, a wild rice salad with roasted chickpeas, vegetables and cranberries.
  • Before running to the store, assess what you already have on hand! For example, do you already have most of the spices or pantry items you’ll need?
  • Write your grocery list and plan to shop a few days before the holiday to beat the crowds and feel more relaxed and ready to go come prep day.

Meal Prepping Tips

  • It will save time to either purchase pre-chopped or semi-prepared foods, or to do this on your own ahead of time. Some foods that can be pre-cut prior to cooking include winter squash, potatoes, onions, celery, peppers, carrots, and other root vegetables.
  • Take advantage of canned or frozen foods like peas, corn, green beans, beans, lentils, tomatoes, and pumpkin.
  • If you can, make some dishes ahead of time, freeze them, and pull them out to defrost the night before Thanksgiving day.
  • Grains, like rice or quinoa, can usually be prepared the day or two before and kept in the fridge if making a grain-based side dish.

Bake in serving dishes that are oven stable so you don’t have to transfer food between multiple dishes or wash more dishes than necessary. Better yet, use baking/serving dishes that have lids, so if there’s leftovers, it’s easy clean-up!

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