Can you believe Thanksgiving is one week away from today? Whoa! As I mentioned in our last blog post, Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. I love cooking the Thanksgiving meal, spending time with my family, and giving thanks for this truly wonderful life.
Here at The Meal Planning Method, we strive to make putting meals on the table each week as easy and simple as possible. And what bigger meal do we have each year than Thanksgiving? Inevitably every year it seems that we get stressed out, overwhelmed, and even frustrated over this holiday feast. Today, I'm sharing our top 10 tips and tricks for an easy and stress-free Thanksgiving.
We focused the following tips on the 4 main component of most meals...
1) MAKE A DETAILED TO-DO/DON'T LIST
2) SELECT YOUR SERVE WARE
There's nothing is worse than getting done with cooking and you're ready to set the table only to realize that you're completely out of serving dishes! Make sure that you also think through what your menu items will be served in. This way, you will know if you have to call mom to borrow a serving platter or go out and buy a new one.
3) LOOK FOR LOWER PRICES
Thanksgiving dinner is a big meal with a lot of food. And let's be honest, groceries add up. Before grocery shopping, use your menu to look for coupons and deals at the store. Many stores this time of year will have great deals on the popular seasonal items such as turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, etc.
4) TAKE A LAST MINUTE TRIP
To the grocery store, that is! I typically recommend aiming for only one shopping trip each week and making a menu will absolutely help you do so. But, let's be real, there is typically a need during Thanksgiving week to accommodate last minute changes so I always plan for a very small, short trip to the store the day before. This could be just to get fresh rolls from the bakery, fresh cut flowers, wine, etc.
5) PREP FOR THE BIG DAY
6) CLEAN AS YOU GO
I'm not going to lie... this is a still a work in progress for me. It is a lesson my mom is always encouraging me to adopt. And it makes this list of tips because when you do clean as you go, it truly makes such a difference. On Thanksgiving, we are constantly using the same pots, pans, measuring spoons, and prep bowls so it's critical that they are clean and ready to go for the next recipe. Also, when we have more clutter around the kitchen, we typically have more stress; so make sure you are actively doing things to reduce stress and not to create more!
7) DELEGATE DUTIES
Yes! This is a big one and so important. All the tips we've mentioned - delegate others to tackle them! Send your husband/roommate/sibling to the store for the second grocery store trip. Have someone else be the designated "cleaner upper" as you cook. Ask someone else bring some of the dishes, beverages, and serve ware. People will often ask you how they can help so give them a job to do!
8) EAT BREAKFAST
How many times you said or heard, "__________ meal is going to be so big, I'm just gonna hold off to eat until then." I hate to break it to you, but this doesn't work. Eat something before the big meal! It will give you the fuel you need to power through the day, make you less irritable and frustrated if someone is grating you, and will help you to eat amounts until are you full and not overstuffed.
9) HOLIDAY HYDRATE
Similar to the previous tip, staying hydrated is so important for your overall well-being. It's also an easy one to put off because we're constantly running around on Thanksgiving Day. No matter, our bodies need to have water to function properly. Also, proper hydration will help you not to feel so physically bad the next day. (*cough* wine *cough*) Remember, water is ideal, but there are lots of festive low-calorie, no-sugar, flavorful drinks or mocktails you can choose from like cranberry sparkling water.
10) RELAX & ENJOY
And last, but not least, truly allow yourself to enjoy this special day being with friends and family. Being able to relax is important for the cook too!
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Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy Thanksgiving day without any cooking-related stress! (Now your relatives... that may be a different story.) What are your must-do tips and tricks for a stress-free holiday? Share below or tag us @themealplanningmethod.