Can you believe Thanksgiving is a week from today! Whoa! As I mentioned last week, Thanksgiving is one of my absolute favorite holidays. I love cooking the Thanksgiving meal, spending time with my family and giving thanks for this 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. What bigger meal do we have each year than Thanksgiving? And every year it seems that we get stressed out, overwhelmed, and possible frustrated over this meal. Today, I am sharing our tips and tricks for an easy and stress-free holiday.
We focus on 4 main component of meals: planning, grocery shopping, food prep and, of course, bringing it all together.
Use these tips for making Thanksgiving easy and stress-free:
Make a detailed list.
Dishes to cook and serve in. Nothing is worse than getting done with cooking and about to set the table or buffet with all the food to only realize you are out of serving dishes. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having mix matched dishes and serving ware (I actually love that), but it's when you are completely out. Make sure as you go through the lists above that you decided what food will be served in what. This way you will know if you have to call mom to borrow a serving platter or go out and buy a new one.
Look for the deals. Thanksgiving dinner is a big meal with a lot of food. And let's be honest, groceries add up. Before grocery shopping, use your list to look for coupons and deals at the store. Many stores this time of year will have great deals on the seasonal items such as cranberries, stuffing, etc.
Plan more than one grocery trip. I typically recommend aiming for only one shopping trip each week and making the list above will help to do so. But, let's be real; there is typically a need during Thanksgiving week so I always plan for a very small and short trip the day before. This could be to get fresh rolls from the bakery, fresh cut flowers, wine, etc.
Start your prep days before the big day. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT start all the cooking the day of. This is crucial to keeping Thanksgiving stress-free and enjoyable. Look at your list. What can be done beforehand? You got to get that turkey thawing immediately, hard boil those eggs for deviled eggs and make the cranberry compote. This will save you so much time and energy on the big day.
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 adapt. It is on this list because when you do clean as you go, it makes such a difference. On Thanksgiving, we are constantly using the same pots, pans, spoons, so it is important that they are clean and ready to go for the next dish. Also, when we have more clutter around, we typically have more stress; so make sure you were doing things to reduce stress and not to create more.
Delegate. Yes! This is a big one. And so important. All the tips above - delegate others to do it. Send your husband/roommate/sibling to the store for the second grocery store. Have someone help clean as you cook. Have someone bring some of the dishes, foods, and wine. People will ask you how they can help so give them a job to do.
Eat breakfast. How many times you said or heard, "The meal is going to be so big, I'm just gonna wait and not eat until then." OR some version of this statement. It doesn't work. Eat something before the meal! It will give you the fuel you need to power through the day, make you less irritable and frustrated if someone is watching the Macy's Day Parade or football instead of helping, and will help you to eat amounts until are you full and not overstuffed.
Hydrate. Similar to above, staying hydrated is so important. It's an easy one to put off because we are running around. But, our bodies need to have water to function properly. Also, proper hydration will help you not to feel so bad the next day. (*cough* wine *cough*)
Relax + Enjoy. Truly enjoy the day being with friends and family. Being able to relax is important for the cook, too.
DOWNLOAD OUR FREE THANKSGIVING PLAN AND PREP LIST
Hopefully, these tips will help you enjoy the day without any stress! What are your tips and tricks for a stress-free holiday? Share below or by using the hashtag #MealPlanningMethod.