99 Thanksgiving Tips to Transform Your Holiday Meal

Take the stress out of Thanksgiving with these tips and tricks.

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Creamy No-Boil Mashed Potatoes (3:10)

1. Take advantage of BOGO deals on food and supplies.

During other times of the year, buy-one-get-one deals are really just an excuse to spend a few more dollars on something you could do without. But during the holidays, and especially during Thanksgiving, when you actually do need to buy in bulk, BOGO deals can help you save money. You know you’ve got to stock up; you might as well stock up strategically.

2. Get your turkey for free at your local supermarket.

Local mom-and-pop supermarkets seem to be few and far between these days. You’d be well-served to pay them a visit on Thanksgiving to reacquaint yourself with the kind of local love these supermarkets have to offer. Many go so far as to give away (yes, for free) turkeys. Grab one, and repay them with future visits.

Watch: How to Buy the Healthiest Food at Your Local Deli Counter

3. Make fruit-infused water instead of serving soda. 

Soda is often high in sugar. Besides, it doesn’t taste so great when you’re washing down a mouthful of hearty turkey and gravy. This Thanksgiving, serve fruit-infused water instead. That will solve the “boring water” problem and you won’t have to buy cases upon cases of soda.

More: Supercharged Infused Water

4. Swap buttermilk for regular milk.

If a recipe calls for buttermilk and you don’t have any around or you don’t want to waste your calories on it, use regular milk. Adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to regular milk is the perfect substitute. Plus, it's a great alternative for heavy cream.

More: The Kitchen Diva's Southwestern Coleslaw with Creamy Buttermilk Dressing

5. Use paper goods for easier cleanup.

Your guests will not think less of you as a host if you serve your Thanksgiving meal on paper plates. They won’t even mind if you have them dig in with composite or plastic silverware. Make cleanup easier on yourself. You deserve to enjoy the evening as well. Go ahead, serve on paper!

6. Accept help from your guests.

Because Thanksgiving dinner requires so much time and energy, we often feel that we might as well do all of the work if we’re going to do any of it—we might as well get all the credit, right? Wrong! Accept help from your guests. They’ll feel happier having contributed anyway. Have a running list of a handful of tasks and be a willing delegator when a guest offers.

7. Make a signature drink for the entire evening.

One of the surest ways to waste money during the holidays is on alcohol. One of the most fun ways to save money during the holidays is to make punch. This way, you won’t need to cater to each of your guests’ alcohol preferences. The best part is, if you make a great punch, you’ll send your guests home with something to talk about.

More: Aaron Sanchez's Tropical Tequila Punch Recipe

8. Clean out your fridge a week in advance.

Each year, you find yourself playing Tetris with the items in your fridge, scrambling to find an extra inch of space. Thanksgiving dinner requires lots of space for preparation and for leftovers. Clean your fridge out a week in advance and get rid of anything expired. For the items that you can’t bear to throw out, use them to make a pre-Thanksgiving meal.

Watch: The Secrets to a Perfectly Stocked Fridge

9. Line your pans with foil for a quick, no-mess cleanup.

The juices, sauces, and gravy will be flowing, and Turkey Day is all the better for it. But cleanup can daunting as a result. There’s a solution: Line your pans with foil. With sufficient “foiling,” you might be able to get away with a quick rinse of your pans before you put them right back in the cabinets.

10. Freeze leftovers.

Let’s face it—you’re going to have far too many leftovers. Do a leftover audit! For the leftovers that will be impossible to finish the following day, take the extra 10 minutes to wrap them in foil, label them, and put them in the freezer.

Watch: Holiday Leftovers' Shelf Life

11. Microwave your lemons.

This sounds strange, doesn’t it? But it’s a hack to remember. Microwave your lemons for 30 seconds! You’ll get a lot more juice out of them.

12. Recycle your wine.

When you think leftovers, you probably don’t think wine. That’s a mistake. There’s no good way to save wine so that you can serve it again. Once you’ve uncorked a bottle, time is of the essence. But here’s what you can do to save that remaining quarter of a bottle: pour it into ice cube trays and freeze! Use this wine for future cooking.

13. Color your cubes.

With all that extra lemon juice you’ll be enjoying, you’ll be able to liven up your ice cubes. Freeze freshly squeezed lemon juice and water in muffin tins to make them colorful and refreshing.

More: 5 Genius Ways to Use an Ice Cube Tray

14. Wear latex gloves (or latex-free, if allergic).

During your next trip to the supermarket, or to your local convenience store, pick up a package of latex gloves. You know the ones—the gloves that make you look like a veteran surgeon. You won’t have to worry about cross-contaminating foods, and you’ll save yourself many hand-washes.

15. Use coconut water in your cocktail.

Cocktails are delicious. The reason they’re delicious, though, is that they’re often loaded with artificial sugar. If ever there was a time to indulge, it’s during the holiday season. But indulge the smart way! Use coconut water instead of artificial mixers to sweeten your cocktails and hydrate at the same time.

More: Coconut Water Guide

16. Microwave squash.

Squash is one of nature’s wonders. It looks interesting; it’s colorful; it’s sweet and tasty. The only problem is, it can be awfully hard to cut. Put your squash in the microwave for five minutes and see if the problem isn’t solved. Spoiler: It will be.

17. Rinse berries in vinegar.

Berries are a favorite pick for an easy, healthy dessert. If you’re going to be serving a large dish of fruit, you want to be sure that all of those berries (melons, and everything else, for that matter!) are clean. Wash them thoroughly in vinegar to be safe.

Watch: The Best Way to Wash Your Fruits

18. Use the secret solution for a burnt pan.

You might as well let go of that perfect Thanksgiving preparation fantasy right now. There’s no such thing, even for the most seasoned of chefs. Something will go awry—and it might very well leave you with a burnt pan. Here’s the cleaning solution you’ve been waiting for: one cup warm water + one cup vinegar + two tablespoons baking soda. Scrub and repeat.

19. Sprinkle cinnamon on that casserole.

Thanksgiving food tends to sit idle for long stretches of time—many of us prepare certain dishes well in advance and some of us host guests for hours upon hours. Use cinnamon specifically to preserve your casseroles. The spice helps decrease bacteria that can grow on open food.

Watch: How Spicy Turkey Chili and Sweet Potato Casserole Burn Fat

20. Use Halloween candy for entertaining treats.

The sugar rush of Halloween is hardly behind us. No doubt, kids will be wondering where all of that candy disappeared to. Take those leftover sweets out of hiding and give the kids an activity to get ready for Christmas! Challenge them to make a DIY gingerbread house.

21. Serve wine and cocktails over frozen fruit.

Those colorful lemon ice cubes can go a long way. But for those who just can’t get enough fruit, this is a solution for you. Ditch the ice cubes and pour wine and cocktails over frozen fruit. Not only will you be left with alcohol-infused treats, but your alcohol will taste that much better.

22. Turn your phone into a sound system.

Well, not exactly. But if you don’t have speakers or a multi-room sound system, there’s no reason to fret. Place your phone inside of a glass cup or bowl to amplify sound. You’re going to be surprised how loud the music gets.

Watch: Curtis Stone: Music While You Cook

23. Put down the knife and pick up the dental floss.

A beautiful cake deserves a perfect cut. With dental floss, you can cut your cake with near-perfect precision, and the cuts will be almost invisible. This is a dessert hack that doubles as a conversation starter.

24. Bake your pinecones.

Pinecones are nature’s gift to the enthusiastic decorator. But, careful—make sure to bake your pinecones to kill any bugs hiding inside. You don’t want any unexpected guests joining your Turkey Day dinner.

25. Use cake stands to optimize table space.

Arranging a Thanksgiving dinner table can be a logistical nightmare. It’s less of a nightmare when you start thinking vertically, instead of only horizontally. Elevate certain dishes using cake stands to make room for more dishes underneath.

26. Serve cocktail glasses with a decorative label.

Here is a universal party truth: Glasses pile up because people leave one glass in one room, forget about it, and are then left to wonder which one is theirs (if they take the time to wonder at all!). Before you know it, you have an additional load for the dishwasher. There’s a solution: Create a fun way to have each guest label his or her glass. Or label their glasses before they arrive with nicknames or other creative identifiers.

27. Use kitchen shears to quickly cut and trim green beans.

Wherever there’s a minute to save during Thanksgiving, you’re wise to save it. Trim your green beans with kitchen shears. This is a modest time-saver but a no-brainer!

28. Use fresh fruit as decoration.

Thanksgiving decorations can really help to build the holiday spirit around the table. Retailers know this and so these decorations are often pricey. Go DIY—use fresh apples, gourds, and pinecones to decorate the table.

29. Buy leftovers containers.

You’re already going to be hard-pressed to make space for all of your Thanksgiving leftovers. You might as well send your guests away with containers of food that they’ll be able to enjoy tomorrow (and that will remind them of all the hard work you put into the holiday!).

30. Bake stuffing in muffin tins.

Stuffing is a Turkey Day staple, but there’s no reason to cook too much of it (you’d rather cook too much turkey). Bake them in muffin tins so they’ll be perfect for individual portions.

31. Cut biscuits with a wine glass.

Your biscuits are going to be all gravy. Cut them in perfect round circles with a wine glass. Presentation is half the battle during the holiday season. Making a perfectly round biscuit is just the kind of extra touch that is quick and easy to do, yet leaves a lasting impression.

32. Soften butter using a cheese grater.

Use this handy kitchen tool to grate smaller pieces of butter that thaw much more quickly. Soon, you'll have just enough softened butter for all of your baking needs.

33. Prep veggies and store in the fridge.

To save yourself loads of time, portion out your veggies in advance, chop them up appropriately, and keep them in the fridge until you're ready to cook with them.

Watch: Dr. Oz's Veggie Solutions

34. Use a wine bottle as a rolling pin.

Were you going to try your hand at that homemade family pie recipe this year, but then realized you don’t have a rolling pin? An extra trip to the store is the last thing any of us need during the holidays. Here’s a tip: Use a wine bottle as a rolling pin. It’ll do the job.

More: 99 Ways to Use Wine

35. Chill drinks fast with a paper towel.

In a pinch, wrap wet paper towels around the bottle you’d like to chill and place it in the freezer. We’ve all suffered the terrible realization that, with guests on the way and everything set to go, the drinks are still warm. Now, you won’t have to panic. Get to work with those paper towels!

36. Save your apples from browning.

Apples start browning almost immediately as soon as they’re exposed to air. Store them in the fridge or in a bowl of cold water to keep them fresh.

More: Daphne Oz's Apple Crisp Recipe

37. Microwave garlic.

You might have realized by now that the microwave is your friend during these holiday months. Once again, it comes in handy. Microwave garlic cloves for about 10 seconds—you’ll have a much easier time peeling off the skin.

38. Make fruit pies and freeze.

Fruit pies are forever on the list of desserts that taste just as delicious after being frozen. Make fruit pies ahead of time, wrap them up carefully (always with clear labels), and freeze until the evening before, or even the morning of your Thanksgiving dinner.

39. Set up a buffet.

Buffets are a favorite because they allow us the freedom to choose our own portions and settle down to eat wherever looks most comfortable. Even if you set a table away from the buffet, you’ll save space. In either case, a buffet will help you streamline the serving process.

40. Process the gravy.

Nobody wants lumps in their gravy. To spare yourself complaints or gossip, put your gravy through a food processor.

41. Use your microwave to make cakes.

Mug cakes are a wonderful alternative to full-blown dessert dishes. Sometimes, personal mug cakes are even more enjoyable than a cake shared with 10 other people—they feel intimate and never like an overindulgence. Better yet, you’ll save time and space in the oven.

42. Top your mashed potatoes.

Your butter and garlic mashed potatoes are probably delicious. But the holidays are the time to go big. Top your mashed potatoes with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, or anything else you think would add that extra flavor kick.

43. Host a Thanksgiving potluck.

Your guests will be beyond appreciative of your willingness to host Thanksgiving dinner, even if they have to contribute to the meal. Host a potluck to save yourself the holiday hassle. With an organized list of each person’s responsibilities, everyone will have an easy time doing their part.

44. Make a menu.

For starters, a menu can be an effective way to plan and a useful reference when you shop for ingredients. If you have time, you can even get creative with these and pass them out during the meal.

45. Boil cloves for a festive aroma.

With the mishmash of ingredients that will be circling your kitchen counter during Thanksgiving, your house might fill up with some indistinct smell of cooking. For some, this smell is the mark of the holidays. But if you’d like the food prep to remain a behind-the-scenes operation, boil cloves for a clean and festive-smelling home.

46. Keep gravy in a thermos.

Few things are better than warm gravy over a properly prepared turkey, but cold gravy can be the weak link that holds dinner back from greatness. Keep gravy warm in a thermos before you’re ready to serve it.

47. Serve up healthy brownies.

You’re not likely to find many disappointed faces when the brownies arrive. You can’t go wrong with brownies. But this year, you can raise the bar. Replace filler ingredients in your brownies with black beans or avocados to make them healthier. Your guests will be amazed at how delicious healthy can taste.

More: Spinach and Black Bean Brownie Recipe

48. Go with Greek yogurt.

We ought to just go ahead and say it—we’re thankful this year, for the depth and versatility of Greek yogurt. It’s there for us whenever we need it. This holiday season, use Greek yogurt as a healthy baking substitute.

Watch: Which Greek Yogurt Brand Should You Buy?

49. Add bread to those yam-bound marshmallows.

It’s no secret—marshmallows don’t exactly follow the “use-by” rules that, say, kale or quinoa do. You can revive stale marshmallows with a simple trick: Add bread into a container with them before you drop them over the yams. The crumbs will restore an unmistakable crisp to your baked mallows.

50. Keep spices off the counter.

Bring on the Scotch tape. Before you open a box of sugar, spices, or anything else that easily spills from the container, have a piece of Scotch tape ready to cover the opening. An additional tip: f you have a counter that “hides” dirt, pick up hidden spices with a piece of tape.

51. Cook a frozen turkey.

If your turkey hasn't thawed completely, don't fret! You can safely cook a frozen turkey in the oven. Simply place your turkey on a roasting rack and roast at 325°F for 50 percent longer than the time your recipe originally called for. An 8–12 lb. frozen bird would take closer to 4 to 4 1/2 hours to fully cook versus 3 hours. If you're not sure if your turkey is ready, use a thermometer to determine if the meat has reached an internal temperature of at least 165°F.

52. Build a crumpled-foil rack.

Take long sheets of foil and crumple them into ropes. You can either coil the ropes into a spiral or arrange them in a figure-eight to hold the chicken or turkey above the pan as a makeshift roasting rack.

53. Dry-brine your turkey.

This year, try a different take on turkey and pre-salt or dry-brine it. Like a wet brine, a dry brine lets you season the meat before cooking but without using water. It's a great choice for anyone running out of refrigerator space.

More: Sage Dry Brine Turkey Recipe

54. Substitute cream for buttermilk. 

Instead of folding butter and heavy cream into your mashed potatoes, swap in buttermilk and Greek yogurt for a creamy and tangy change of pace. You'll get a boost in nutrients and probiotics as well.

55. Add baking powder to mashed potatoes.

Get fluffier mashed potatoes by adding baking powder. If you're using buttermilk, the powder will react to the acid in the liquid in addition to reacting to heat. These two reactions form air bubbles, creating an irresistible texture. Watch out—your guests will be coming back for seconds in no time!

More: Buttermilk Smashed Red Potatoes Recipe

56. Try Thanksgiving swoodles.

Who says sweet potatoes have to be topped with marshmallows and loaded with butter and sugar? This year, make sweet potato noodles with healthy fats like extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Add flavor with maple syrup and cayenne pepper and sprinkle your favorite cheese, herbs, or nuts on top. Goat cheese, parsley, and pecans are delicious together.

More: Thanksgiving Swoodles Recipe

57. Skip the bread in stuffing.

The holidays are no time for a diet, but there are a few easy ways to eliminate calories you'd rather not consume. To cut back on any stuffing recipe, replace every pound of bread with four cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas.

More: Bread-Free Stuffing Recipe

58. Make a faux green bean casserole.

Traditional green bean casseroles are often loaded with too much fat and sodium from the condensed soup and fried onions. Make a healthier green bean side dish by steaming or roasting the green beans and topping them with caramelized onions and balsamic vinegar. The aroma from the onions and balsamic is enough to make this dish worth the effort!

More: Green Beans with Caramelized Onions Recipe

59. Cook leftover stuffing in a waffle iron.

You probably haven’t glimpsed or tasted the perfection of a stuffing waffle. Change that this year! Spray cooking oil on a waffle iron and then fill it with a thick layer of stuffing. You’ll have a crispy stuffing waffle in minutes!

60. Make mashed-potato pancakes.

The stuffing waffle has a sibling, and you’d be cruel to embrace one and not the other. Serve mashed-potato pancakes for breakfast to surprise the kids or serve them at dinner for an unexpected treat.

More: Mashed Potato Pancakes Recipe

61. Make leftover-veggie soup.

It can seem like there’s no use for them—but you’d be unwise to let all those leftover veggies go to waste. Instead, store them in a large container and top with broth for a hearty thanksgiving leftover soup. It’ll be the perfect day-after meal.

62. Revive your leftover turkey.

Dry turkey is a major bummer. Sure, your day-of turkey is going to be soaked with flavor. But what about your day-after turkey? Leftovers definitely do not have to play second fiddle. Drizzle or spray broth on your leftover turkey to revive it.

More: Leftover Turkey and Sweet Potato Frittata Recipe

63. Repurpose cranberry sauce.

The spirit of November can, in many ways, be encapsulated in a single, carefully prepared leftover turkey sandwich. It’s delicious, cozy, and convenient. And it must have cranberry spread. Make this Oz-Approved Cranberry Spread. It’s simple: Mix cranberry sauce with Greek yogurt and enjoy!

More: Dr. Oz Makes a Healthier Cranberry Sauce

64. Use xanthan gum as a thickener.

A flour and butter roux is the traditional thickener in turkey gravy, but to make your gravy carb-free, try using a pinch of xanthan gum instead.

More: Thanksgiving Gravy Recipe

65. Roast turkey on a bed of vegetables.

You might want to grab a pen or pencil. You’re going to want to make a note in the margins of your trusted family recipe. Roast Mom’s turkey on a bed of vegetables. When the turkey is roasted, blend the drippings and vegetables for a mouthwatering vegetable gravy.

66. Salvage the not-quite-right gravy.

So your gravy isn’t tasting as good as you hoped it would be. We’ve all been there. It might need a pinch of salt. But now you’re wondering: Will salt do the trick? Spare yourself. Add low-sodium soy sauce for depth of flavor when your gravy isn’t up to par.

67. Make a crowd-pleasing vegetarian entree.

If you or your guests are vegetarians, Lisa Oz’s butternut squash lasagna is a worthy choice for your holiday table’s main attraction. The butternut squash is cooked in fragrant holiday spices like cinnamon and cumin, and layered with lasagna noodles, cooked spinach, and ricotta cheese, for a decadent main course.

Watch: Holiday Recipes for Guests With Food Allergies

68. Make vegan whipped cream.

If you have vegan guests coming over to enjoy those delicious fruit pies you’ve prepared in advance, why not whip up a vegan topper? You can prepare vegan whipped cream in no time. Chill a can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. The next day, shake to mix the milk and coconut and then whip till it's the right consistency.

69. Prepare meat-free sides.

All right—you might want to hold the bacon on those mashed potatoes. If you’re going to have vegetarians or vegans joining you for Thanksgiving dinner, then prepare all your side dishes meat-free and at least some of the stuffing outside the bird. That way, you won’t have to think back on the ingredients and guess as to whether meat was in the mix.

70. Deglaze with apple cider.

Your Thanksgiving gravy is going to have the X factor this year. Deglaze your pan with apple cider and you’ll end up with a low-fat and flavorful gravy. The neighbors won’t know what they’re missing!

71. Take the cooler out of storage.

After the summer months, we hardly find use for coolers. And by this time of year, we tend to let them sit and collect dust in the closet. Let this year be an occasion to break that habit. Keep drinks cold for your guests in a cooler. You’ll appreciate the extra space in your fridge.

72. Make a meal-prep checklist.

Planning, planning, planning. Thanksgiving can be a nightmare for the unprepared. Here’s a quick way to organize your preparation: Make a meal-prep checklist. What do you have to make, and by when do you intend to make it? List every last thing, down to those fancy ice cubes.

More: 11 Ways to Make Meal Prepping Easy

73. Dishwash your potatoes.

Potato skins are a terrible pain to scrub. This year, save yourself the hassle. Put your potatoes through the dishwasher. Just put the potatoes through a quick rinse (without soap—there should be no soap). Those skins will fall right off.

74. Use tin foil to prevent your pie from burning.

It’s impossible to prepare a pie and not end up caring a great deal about how it looks, feels, and tastes. Making a pie is a labor of love. This Thanksgiving, prevent the soul-crushing sight of a burnt crust. Wrap a 12-inch piece of tin foil around the edges of the pie crust before baking.

75. Slow-roast your turkey in the oven the night before.

Thanksgiving Day can be hectic. To save time, slow-roast your turkey the night before. Make sure to set your oven to the right temperature overnight, though. There are no do-overs in the morning!

76. Be smart about your apple pie.

Now that you know how to protect your apples from browning (see hack number 36), you can put that knowledge to good use. If you’re planning to prepare an apple pie, chop up the apple slices beforehand and store them in cold water.

More: Daphne Oz's Apple Pie Makeover

77. Get arts-and-crafty.

Thanksgiving is an occasion for thanks, and it’s also an occasion for nostalgia. Remember all those turkey-related masterpieces you made in art class? Brush up on your skills and make your very own version of an edible apple turkey.

78. Indulge in candy-corn ice pops.

Of all the usual Halloween candies, candy corn is an undisputed classic. Imagine how pretty those beautiful yellow, orange, and white kernels would look as ice pops. Better yet, imagine how great they could taste. The yellow base: frozen pineapple juice. The orange middle: frozen orange juice. And the white tip: frozen yogurt (or even ice cream). Serve these for a fun dessert after all that turkey.

79. Craft a healthy turkey lunch.

Here’s another example of edible arts and crafts. Make a turkey sandwich that bears its name in shape. Cut a turkey sandwich into a pear shape, place at the center of a plate, and decorate accordingly. From top to bottom: Use baby carrots to create a half circle around the upper half of the bread (the feathers), use one cashew atop the bread (the beak), place two raisins (the eyes), cut two pieces of pineapple into triangles (the feet), and finally, add two celery stalks.

80. Make healthy snack choices.

Remember to eat and stay hydrated this Thanksgiving while you’re cooking up a storm for you and your loved ones. Snack on a low-calorie yet delicious treat like chocolate popcorn so you don’t have to cut back during the main Thanksgiving feast.

Watch: Healthy Snacks for Your Craving Type

81. Replace butter and cream with hummus.

If you're not a fan of buttermilk and Greek yogurt in your mashed potatoes, all you have to do is replace them with hummus.

82. Add avocado to mashed potatoes.

If you’d have no interest in tasting hummus mashed potatoes, then try this mashed potato hack instead. Puree avocados and add to your mashed potatoes immediately after they’ve cooked and while they’re still hot. Green mashed potatoes will be a conversation starter until everyone digs in to enjoy the dish.

More: Avocado Mashed Potatoes

83. Try a bread alternative.

Not keen on a bread basket? Farinata, as it's known in Italy, or socca, as it’s referred to in France, is an easy-to-make flatbread that pairs well with everything from gravy to cranberry sauce.

Watch: How to Make Socca Pancakes

84. Sweeten cranberry sauce naturally.

Cook unsweetened cranberry sauce in naturally sweetened fruit juice. If you prefer more sweet flavor, you can also add honey or maple syrup.

85. Prepare bread for stuffing. 

When Thanksgiving morning gets hectic, you’ll be happy to have followed this wise tip: Buy bread for your stuffing the day before, cut it or break it up into small pieces, and store in a plastic bag overnight. Preparedness will be awfully satisfying when you simply empty the plastic bag over the stuffing.

86. Set the table the night before.

This is often the task we save for last but if you set the table the night before, you guarantee yourself 20 minutes to sit down and rest before your guests arrive. Twenty minutes of pre-dinner calm can go a long way on Thanksgiving day!

More: Finding Balance During the Holidays

87. Buy time with appetizers.

For a holiday that revolves around the main course, it’s easy to forget about appetizers. Serve small bites so your guests won’t be starving and lingering around the kitchen, impatient for you to bring out the turkey.

88. Keep mashed potatoes in a Crock-Pot.

The perfect mashed potatoes have to be at the perfect temperature. Warm mashed potatoes are a treat. Cold mashed potatoes, on the other hand—not so much. To ensure that yours stay warm until dinnertime, keep them warm in a Crock-Pot.

89. Cream corn with coconut milk.

Creamed corn tastes so good it almost seems too good to be true. Well, with all the fat and sugar, that might be the case. Make a healthier creamed corn this year and replace the cream with coconut milk instead.

90. Mash cauliflower.

Instead of, or maybe in addition to, mashed potatoes, consider serving mashed cauliflower. It’s a great alternative when you’re expecting guests who’ve been working hard to maintain a particular diet.

91. Bake fruit for dessert.

Those admirable holiday dieters might also enjoy a lighter dessert. They’ll be pleasantly surprised to see baked apple rings (topped with cinnamon) or baked pear slices (topped with honey) next to that rich, sugary pie.

92. Exchange white flour for whole-wheat flour.

That’s right—gravy deserves a health-conscious makeover too. If you want to stick to a traditional recipe, you can still prepare yours with whole-wheat flour instead of white flour.

93. Mash sweet potatoes.

This year, switch up your Thanksgiving dinner and serve your sweet potatoes mashed. Optional: a gooey marshmallow topping.

94. Replace butter and oil with mashed bananas.

Among the turkey, stuffing, and potatoes, Thanksgiving dinner can become one mouthful of butter after another. In one or more of your main dishes, try cooking with mashed bananas instead of butter and oil.

95. Compile a recipe folder.

Half the battle of preparing a Thanksgiving meal is keeping track of each recipe. There’s a way to unburden yourself: Type and print out each of your recipes and compile them in a folder (a binder will make things even easier).

96. Use a meat thermometer.

No two turkeys are the same, so it’s important to have a meat thermometer. This handy tool will help you determine when your turkey is fully cooked to perfection.

97. Use small plates strategically.

If you’re hosting more than 10 or 12 people, you might want to serve dinner on smaller plates. This is not to leave your guests hungry—rather, it’s to slow down the pace of dinner so that guests are less likely to end up with a wasted, uneaten serving of turkey on their plate.

98. Make pie crusts in advance.

It’s no easy task to make a pie crust. A great crust requires extra time and attention. This year, try making them in advance, and all at once — if you have quite a few to make, you’ll be on a roll by the third or fourth. Then, you can freeze them until you’re ready to finish the job.

More: Spiced Butternut Squash Pie Recipe

99. Defend against a dry turkey.

For fifteen minutes before you put your turkey in the oven, chill the breasts with three or four ice packs. This way, the breasts will cook more slowly than the other parts of the turkey, which means they’re less likely to be dry.