Timesaving Tips for Thanksgiving

If it’s your turn to host the Thanksgiving feast this year, you may be feeling a bit stressed and overwhelmed. Planning a bountiful meal is a lot of work! Here are some tips to help make the holiday a little easier.

Preparation Tips

  • Consider ordering a pre-cooked turkey from your favorite grocery store. No defrosting. No prep. No hours of cooking. Just heat according to package instructions. Be sure to read cooking instructions in advance so you can plan correctly.
  • Clean out your fridge before Thanksgiving so there is plenty of room for all the food.
  • Get out all the serving dishes and utensils before Thanksgiving Day. Clean them if necessary. Label each serving dish with the corresponding menu item.
  • Prepare as much as possible in advance. Chop and measure ingredients and store in food storage bags in the refrigerator until needed. Enlist the help of family members whenever possible.
  • Set the table at least one day in advance. Include everything – tablecloth or placemats, dinnerware and flatware, napkins, glasses for water, candles and matches. Keep a supply of paper products in the pantry to use in the meantime.
  • Graciously accept offers of help and suggest food dishes to those who want to bring a dish.

Cooking Tips

  • Leave the peel on your mashed potatoes. It’ll save you time plus is the most nutritious part of the potato.
  • Take advantage of canned fruits and vegetables. You can store them in your pantry until you need them plus they are ready to use straight out of the can. Look for no salt added and reduced sodium varieties for canned vegetables, and rinse them in a colander prior to cooking. For fruit, look for those canned in natural juice or light syrup to save calories and cut sugar.
  • Reduce the number of side dishes. Focus on the favorites and chances are no one will even notice that one or two are missing.
  • For dessert, offer one or two homemade pies. If you need more than that, consider purchasing ready-made pies.

Clean-up Tips

  • Make clean-up a breeze by lining baking dishes with aluminum foil. To line a pan, turn the pan upside down, press a sheet of foil around it. Remove the foil, flip the pan over and drop the foil liner inside. Crimp edges of the foil to the rim of the pan. Add food and bake according recipe instructions.
  • Just before the meal is served, fill the sink with soapy water to soak any small dishes and silverware while guests are eating.
  • Have club soda on hand to clean spots or stains on the tablecloth, carpet, or clothing.
  • Keep a spare garbage can nearby with plenty of extra trash bags.

Pam Speich is the Director of Nutrition Services at American Family Fitness and the Registered Dietitian at the Short Pump American Family Fitness location. She graduated from Carson Newman College with a Bachelor of Science Degree with Honors in Foods and Nutrition with an Emphasis in Dietetics. She completed her Dietetic Internship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and earned the credentials Registered Dietitian in 2000. In March 2018, Pam became a certified personal trainer.  

Pam’s experience includes nutrition counseling, wellness program development, public speaking, wellness research and writing, sales and marketing, and food labeling. Her areas of nutrition specialty include weight loss, heart healthy diets, diabetes, celiac disease, food allergies and intolerances, and low thyroid conditions.  What Pam loves most about being a dietitian is the opportunity to witness lives changed for the better through the power of food.

When Pam is not at the club, you are likely to find her at a sporting event with one or more of her three boys, traveling with her husband, or working on a home improvement project.

Nutrition appointments with Pam are available at Short Pump on Tuesday mornings, Wednesday mornings, Thursday evenings and Friday mornings. Appointments at VCC are available on Saturday afternoons. To schedule, contact: nutritionservices@amfamfit.com

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