FNP Holiday Tips: Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Have you all been following our #FNPholidaytips on our Facebook page? Hopefully, all these tips will help you plan a healthier, more organized holiday meal for your family.

Holidays are a special time to share love and food with family and friends.

Holidays are a special time to share love and food with family and friends. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for this reason.

The Menu

(8 people)

Double Cornbread
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Root Vegetables
Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes
Fresh Cranberry Sauce
Crustless Pumpkin Pie
Rice Pudding

The Shopping List

Dry Goods

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 cup cornmeal*
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour*
  • 1 cup brown rice*
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil* (We recommend these)
  • ½ cup honey

Canned Goods

  • 8 ounces canned creamed corn
  • 15 ounces canned pumpkin
  • 8 ounces evaporated milk

Herbs and Spices

  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract*
  • 3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 whole cloves (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder*
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary


  • Turkey- 10 pounds (bigger if you like leftovers)


  • 9 potatoes*
  • 4 sweet potatoes*
  • 2 carrots*
  • 1 rutabaga
  • 1 onion*
  • 1 turnip
  • 4 garlic cloves*


  • 4 apples*
  • 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup raisins*
  • 1 cup orange juice


  • 3⅓ cups 1% milk*
  • ¾ cup light sour cream
  • 6 eggs*
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons reduced fat Parmesan cheese

*Items that you might have in your Better Pantry*

Smart Swaps for a Healthier, Easier Menu

  • You’ll notice there’s not gravy on this menu. That’s because gravy, while flavorful, adds a lot of extra fat and sodium. If you really love gravy, and it’s a holiday treat, not a regular indulgence, try a simple recipe of 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 1 cup of stock or broth, seasoned with garlic powder and black pepper. Bring to a boil and serve!
  • Mix and match your favorite root vegetables in the Roasted Root Vegetables recipe. Parsnips, beets, and radishes would also be tasty options.
  • Ham is another option instead of turkey. Just be sure to pick one with less added sugar. I usually prefer spiral cut ham, but you may like boneless better.

Thanksgiving Meal Prep Game Plan


  • Place turkey in refrigerator to begin thawing. Plan for 24 hours for every five pounds of turkey. Be sure to place turkey on the bottom shelf in a container to prevent leaking onto other foods.


  • Make Fresh Cranberry sauce and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  • Cook brown rice with 2 cups milk and refrigerate until ready to cook Rice Pudding on Thursday. Reheat cooked rice with 1 cup milk and remaining ingredients and simmer until thick and creamy.


  • Chop root vegetables and marinate in plastic bag until ready to cook on Thursday.
  • Chop sweet potatoes and apples and toss with butter mixture. Place in baking dish, cover, and refrigerate until ready to cook on Thursday.
  • Make Double Cornbread and refrigerate dish once cooled.


  • Three and a half hours before your meal, roast turkey at 350° F until it reaches 165° F in the thigh, wing, and breast.
  • An hour and a half before your meal, cook Roasted Root Vegetables in the oven with the turkey.
  • 45 minutes before your meal, cook Baked Apples and Sweet Potatoes in the oven with the turkey and root vegetables.
  • While the turkey and other side dishes are cooking, make Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes and Rice Pudding on the stovetop. Keep these dishes warm over low heat until ready to serve.
  • As soon as the turkey, root vegetables and sweet potatoes and apples are finished cooking, reheat Double Cornbread and make Crustless Pumpkin Pie. The pumpkin pie will be ready about the same time your family is ready for dessert!

I hope this helps you organize and plan out your Thanksgiving meal so that you can enjoy time with your family and friends instead of stressing about cooking! What are some of your family’s Thanksgiving traditions you’re looking forward to next week?

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