3 Tips for Hosting A Small Thanksgiving

by Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Last Updated: November 20, 2020

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year with social distancing, added stress, and a new “normal.” It’s already time to enjoy Thanksgiving, be it a scaled-back version due to the coronavirus public health crisis. If the pandemic means you’re cooking the holiday dinner for the first time this year, no need to panic. Get ready for the meal by planning, keeping the dishes simple, and delegating tasks when necessary. Even if you’ve cooked the meal before, the tips below will be sure to yield great results for a holiday filled with gratitude.
  1. Plan ahead.
    Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and the time to get organized is here! Consider creating a digital document to keep track of everything you want to make, ingredients needed, recipes, and when you want to make these items. Take advantage of the free list feature on Kroger’s website or app to add ingredients easily while you plan! Having a digital list will provide ease of mind once you get to the grocery store since it can be found right on your phone.
  2. Reconsider buying a whole turkey.
    A great option if you’re hosting fewer people is to serve turkey breasts. This can even be an alternative to cooking a second turkey. Choosing a turkey breast will decrease the amount of cooking required and provide a healthy choice for those at your table. A three-ounce portion of boneless, skinless turkey breast contains a whopping 26 grams of protein, 1 gram of fat, and 0 grams of saturated fat. This protein source is filled with nutrients such as vitamin B6, B12, niacin, choline, and iron, to help your body work at its peak function. Eating foods high in protein, like turkey breast, will help make sure your guests feel satisfied with their meal. The fat content in turkey is typically found in the skin; removing the skin will result in a leaner dish. If you know your smaller crowd has specific preferences such as turkey thighs or drumsticks, be sure to add those options to your list.

    A slow-cooker approach to cooking turkey breast would free up the coveted oven space and yield a moist, tender piece of meat. Turkey breast can be cooked a day in advance, which would allow for less cooking the day of and more moments with loved ones.
  3. Keep it simple with side dishes.
    Thanksgiving dishes are packed with rich, deep fall flavors. Ask yourself what Thanksgiving tastes like to you and recreate those flavors into smaller dishes. Look back at past celebrations and consider cutting your favorite recipes in half to decrease the amount of work needed on each dish. Don’t be afraid to use appliances, like the microwave, for items such as potatoes, string beans, and asparagus. The name of the game this year is low-stress, and using a variety of tools in the kitchen that you have on-hand will be sure to help! Consider some dishes that don’t require heat at all, like a festive harvest salad to brighten up the dinner table and help balance out your meal with a healthy dose of fiber. Prepare a butternut squash soup to serve ahead of the meal to keep guests from getting hungry and offer a nutritional dish high in vitamin C, vitamin A and potassium. Consider these essentials, chosen for ease and the fact that they are enjoyed across the nation.

We hope these tips help provide some guidance while preparing for smaller gatherings. Check out the considerations the CDC offers to help protect you, families, friends, and the community from COVID-19 as you prepare for the holiday season. Wishing a safe and happy Thanksgiving to all!

Disclaimer: This information is educational only and not providing healthcare recommendations. Please see a healthcare provider.


Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Victoria Le Maire, RD, LD

Victoria is a dedicated dietitian with a love for helping others develop a positive relationship with food, while setting realistic goals. Victoria has professional experience with various conditions such as strokes, diabetes and weight management. She strives to make a nutritious lifestyle attainable for all. You can catch Victoria scratch-cooking at home, trying new workouts at her local gym or spending time with her dog, Jack.