Thanksgiving Meal Plan

by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD on November 20, 2012

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This isn’t a normal week for a variety of reasons. First, it’s Thanksgiving, and instead of the relaxing dinner at my mother-in-law’s, we are hosting Thanksgiving Dinner. Second, the book is back, with the edits due before we leave for our week-long vacation this Sunday (exciting details to follow after our return).

Two words sum up my state of being right now: I’m stressed.

So, Thanksgiving meal is going to be a shared responsibility thing. My husband and brother-in-law will roast the turkey, I will be making the vegetable dish, stuffing and gravy. My sister-in-law will bring a potato dish and my mom, pies. It’s all about keeping it simple. As for the other meals this week, it’s all easy stuff I can make without a recipe.

Here are some recipes I found for doing my part of the meal, followed by some holiday cooking ideas from Cooking Light. I would love for you to share your favorite Thanksgiving recipe in the comments.

I’ve made this Green Bean and Mushroom Medley the last two Christmases. It turns out perfecto.

I’m going basic with this Old Fashioned Stuffing, since I’ve never made it. But this one on Simply Recipes looks really good for next year. And this Homemade Gravy from Ina Garten looks easy enough. Check out Org Junkie for more Thanksgiving meal ideas.

As you ramp up your cooking for the holiday season, here are some ideas from Cooking Light:

Appetizer Swap Party

Christmas Cocktails

Gift Ideas for Foodies

Invent New Family Traditions

Thoughts on Holiday Eating
In the old days there was a big distinction between how I ate on normal days vs. the holidays. The holidays were all about indulging and eating rich foods, followed by ultra-healthy meals as I awaited the next big binge around Christmas. Now that I have more balanced eating style, and one that allows all any food any time, I no longer feel the need to go crazy.

No doubt that holiday eating is about foods you don’t eat all the time — and they are often richer. But now my focus has to do more with creating traditions and family time, rather than what or how much I eat.

What is your focus this Thanksgiving? Is the food part challenging?

Being Grateful
I also like to take this time to reflect on all I have to be grateful. I’m grateful for my family, especially my husband who took the kids all weekend so I could work on the book and my mom and mother(s)-in-law who help take care of Big A and Little D. And my kids who are an absolute joy. I’m also grateful for my friends, who I don’t see as often as I’d like, but I know are always there for me. And for my writing partner, Jill, who is the only person who knows exactly how I feel this week.

But I’m feeling especially grateful to you — my readers — who read what I have to write week after week. For liking and tweeting my posts, for commenting and not commenting, for agreeing and not agreeing.

I’ve gotten more out of this blog than you’ll ever know and it has truly enriched me both personally and professionally. I’ve really listened to the questions and concerns you have around feeding, to help make Fearless Feeding a resource that truly reflects the needs of modern-day parents. We just launched our new website where you can sign up for our newsletter. The book will be published in April.

Without you, it wouldn’t have been possible. So thank you!

For the first time in over 3 years I’m taking some time off. I figure the world wide web can do without me for a little more than week so that also means no Facebook or Twitter (there is still a chance I might post one more time this week). But the idea is to take time off and come back refreshed and ready to post.

I hope you are able to take some time off too. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kumar Gauraw November 20, 2012 at 11:21 am

Hello Maryann,

Thank you for a very well written meal plan. I loved the part about “Being Grateful” though your entire article is just awesome.

I think being grateful is the key to happiness and the theme behind the whole thanksgiving phenomena. As we count our blessings, as we thank God for things we enjoy and sometimes even take for granted, our lives are enriched. There is a inner peace manifested as soon as we are grateful.



Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD November 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Thanks Kumar! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Megan November 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm

Congrats on continued progress with the book, can’t wait to read it! I’ve really come to rely on you for advice on feeding my kids, and having a book to reference as they grow and their needs change will be so helpful. Have a great Thanksgiving and enjoy the time off!


Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD November 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Thanks Megan! The book is coming together nicely. Thanks again for being part of it!


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