For people who love to cook and eat, Thanksgiving is really the best of the holidays. I actually love all the cooking, shopping, planning and prep that goes into pulling off the big meal. What I don't love is doing it at the last minute so I'm exhausted and stressed out by the time the meal starts.
Luckily, there are lots of things you can prep ahead, even right now, to get a jump on the festivities. That allows you to add last-minute healthy dishes to your table...things like a crisp green salad, or a simply steamed vegetable, that might fall by the wayside if you're trying to do it all that day.
My family's favorite sweet potato casserole was actually developed to be made ahead. Sweet pecans, brown sugar, and spices combine to make a dish that's indulgent enough for a holiday but not such a fat and sugar bomb it drowns out all the goodness of the sweet potato.The recipe I linked doesn't mention this, but you can freeze it after spreading on the streusel topping for up to a couple weeks ahead. It freezes like a dream and just needs to be pulled out and thawed ahead of time.
Plenty of other dishes lend themselves to freezing...pies, macaroni and cheese, and rolls, to name a few. Cranberry sauce is actually better if made a day or two ahead and the flavors given a chance to marry, and stuffing can be prepped ahead as well and simply popped into the oven on Thanksgiving Day. That leaves you with time to saute some kale with garlic, or whip up a salad, or roast some cauliflower for a nice healthy veggie addition to your rich feast. Less stress and time to make some lower-fat dishes means Thanksgiving dinner really can be good for you!
What's your favorite make-ahead Thanksgiving side?