Save Money and Calories on Thanksgiving Dinner

With rising food prices, preparing Thanks­giving dinner can be expensive. In addition, large holiday meals with high calorie foods cause people to overeat. Here are some helpful tips to save both money and calories on the Thanksgiving meal.

Do not go overboard with variety. Do you serve mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potatoes? Do you serve two meats? Remember, you do not have to have everyone’s favorite holiday food at one meal. Choose one meat, one starchy vegetable (mashed potatoes OR sweet potatoes), and one green vegetable that appeals to everyone. Doing so will help you save money and eat less.

Take guests up on their offer to bring a dish. Some of your guests would love to show off their cooking skills with a salad or dessert. Others with less time or ability could be asked to bring a dozen rolls from the bakery, a purchased dessert, or some type of beverage.

Simplify your recipes. Every dish does not have to be fancy. Try fresh or frozen green beans with a touch of olive oil instead of green bean casserole. Have a fruit salad with a mixture of canned and fresh seasonal fruits without lots of whipped topping or sweetened condensed milk.

Watch for sales. Many grocery stores put items frequently used for the Thanksgiv­ing meal on sale a few weeks before hand. Plan your meal ahead of time so that
you can buy items when they are on sale. Consider stocking up on some of these items that can be stored on the shelf or in the freezer and used throughout the year (e.g., fresh cranberries, canned pumpkin, turkey, brown sugar).

Know how many people are attending dinner. This is important so you do not end up making too much food and spending extra money. Make only as much as you need for the people who are attending unless you are deliberately planning for leftovers.

For more tips on saving money at the grocery store and budget friendly recipes, visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website

Celebrating Holidays with Food Allergies

Holidays that revolve around food can be a challenge for families with food allergies.
The traditional holiday meal can present numerous allergy risks — and the risks can be
even greater if you aren’t preparing the meal yourself. Is there any way around the
stress and pressure of a holiday known for allergen-laden foods?

For hosts

  • Ask guests about their dietary needs. If other guests are bringing food, be specific about food restrictions of your guests and offer ideas for safe options. Instead of saying “gluten free crackers,” which may be difficult to find, give brand names or tell guests where they can be found.
  • If you prefer to prepare all the foods yourself to avoid allergic reactions and your guests want to bring something, suggest holiday cups, plates and napkins, or unpeeled fruit that is safe to eat.
  • Wash your hands often after handling foods to avoid cross contamination between
    an allergen and other foods.

For guests

  • Remind your child when being offered a food item that may contain an allergen, to politely decline the offer and say “I’m sorry, but I cannot eat ______. Thank you anyway.” Tactfully inform your host in advance of food allergies or dietary needs and the possibility that you may bring your own foods.
  • In all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, don’t let your guard down regarding safety. Don’t take any chances; verify all ingredients and read all labels to ensure safety.
  • Home-baked goods are a treat around the holidays, but if you are a guest with a
    food allergy, talk to your host about foods you can bring that are allergen safe.

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