Holiday Meal Planning in Uncertain Times

Holiday Meal Planning in Uncertain Times

By Sara Moffett, Deli Manager

Planning a holiday meal for a family or friendship gathering can be pretty tricky. Not only do you have to plan the food that you will serve, but you will also need to make an extensive shopping list to ensure you have all of the ingredients, then spend days in the kitchen prepping and cooking for your guests, not to mention tidying up your home and making sure that everything is “just right”. With all of these to-do’s on your list, sometimes you can feel overwhelmed. (Maybe there’s too much on your plate, so to speak.)

Growing up, many of us had big holiday gatherings with a large assortment of homemade dishes. It is a cultural expectation that our holidays will have abundant spreads of food so that everyone is sure to find something they like. With the evolved diets of today, it might be harder to find the perfect meal for everyone at the table. Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free diets can sometimes be tricky to navigate with all of the demands holiday cooking presents.

However, even though your menu might be very complex, it’s okay to give yourself a break this holiday season. You don’t have to make everything from scratch. It will be okay to get a few items (or a whole meal) premade. Not only are you going to be relieved, but your guests won’t notice or worry that the cranberry relish isn’t homemade this year, or that you went out and bought rolls instead of the ones that you like to make. If you are juggling too many balls, one is likely to drop. Since many of us missed out on spending valuable time with our friends and family last year, this year let’s focus on those meaningful relationships at these meals, instead of just the menu. 

I’m not suggesting leaving out a family tradition of making pumpkin pies at Grandma’s, but I do have some holiday tips to help you stay organized and stress less! Reach out to family and friends and ask if anyone has any dietary restrictions. If you are unsure exactly what it means to be vegan, you can ask that guest to bring something to the table this year for everyone to try. If you really don’t know where to start it’s ok to say that you might not have something vegan and they should plan to bring a meal with them. You also can always ask one of our GreenTree team members to help you pick out something. Odds are you will be serving at least one vegan dish anyway.

Make sure that if you are buying a frozen turkey that you give it enough time to thaw before brining – if needed – and cooking. Give it a 3-day lead time before the holiday. If you want to get ahead, make some of the items in advance and freeze them, such as mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, or refrigerate items like cranberry relish or sweet potatoes. Keep it simple. Store-bought items will be okay if it saves you the stress. If you are worried about getting everything done, don’t over-complicate the menu. By paring down the items you are serving you can streamline the preparation process and everyone (including you) is sure to enjoy the food, but more importantly the company.

Make GreenTree a part of your holiday planning by ordering items off of our Catering Menu (orders must be in by 9pm on 11/18) If you don’t think that your schedule will allow for you to cook everything you want to make. Our menu covers the side dishes, rolls, the turkey, and even dessert so that you can carve out more time to spend with your loved ones.

Although this time of year can be stressful, we hope that you enjoy your holiday season and that you take the time to make memories and eat really good food. 


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