Meal Prep

5 Tips to De-stress Thanksgiving Prep

Pumpkin Soup

Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday growing up, but I hated Thanksgiving morning.
Growing up, Thanksgiving was a major event for my mom. She used to prepare 3 different types of turkeys (fried, smoked and roasted), 10 different vegetable sides and a myriad of delicious but laborious desserts. That feast inevitably came with a 5am wake up call for everyone, 7 last minute trips to the grocery store and a few tears.

Pulling off a dinner like that without being caught bra-less, makeup-less, and still in your pajamas when your guests arrive takes an army… or at the very least a plan. Here are 5 tips for to make your Thanksgiving meal prep go smoothly this year.

  1. Know your menu well in advance. Preparation is crucial to Turkey Day success, know your menu and do your shopping well in advance. One of our rockstar Voeden subscribers suggests printing out a blank November calendar to hang on your refrigerator. You can download ours Thanksgiving Calendar by clicking here, then fill it in with your shopping trips, your meal prep days and friendly reminders.

  2. Don’t stress over fancy recipes. Just like our weekly meal plans, we like to use a combination of familiar, staple dishes and fun, new ones but don’t feel pressured to reinvent the wheel. Celebrate the classics and each year you’ll gain confidence in making those dishes, in turn they’ll become easier to prepare. Toss in a few exciting ones just to keep the table fresh but don’t stress over them, cooking is supposed to be fun!

  3. Ask for help. That’s what friends and family are for, have your guests bring desserts or take care of the appetizers so that you can focus on the main meal. Or you could potluck style the whole dinner and divvy up everyone’s favorites dishes. Remember those “fun, exciting dishes” that you’re experimenting with? Ask someone to bring a back up (without them knowing it’s a back up) and if you run out of time or if you burn the pie, then you already have plan B and no one has to know!

  4. Prep as much as you can in advance. My kitchen icon, Ina Garten always said to make any gratins, mashed potatoes and soups a few days in advance and just reheat them that morning. Another helpful tip is to skip stuffing the actual turkey and just make a side of stuffing in another container. Be sure to grocery shop a few days in advance too, that way if you forget anything you aren’t running to the grocery store on Thanksgiving morning to pick up coconut milk only to find out your hubby bought a carton of it instead of the canned stuffed… (story of my childhood!)

  5. Have fun.  This last tip is something I go back to with each and everyone of my students, daily. When’s the last time you let your hair down, put on your favorite music and danced around the kitchen singing into a wooden spoon? Dance with your kids while stirring the soup, and stop striving for Martha Stewart perfection, remember that this day is about being thankful for the life you’ve created so celebrate it!


Don't forget to download our FREE blank November Planning Calendar so that your Thanksgiving Meal Prep goes smoothly, and be sure to check you inbox next week for our BONUS Thanksgiving meal plan featuring 6 recipes for this year's biggest food holiday. 



How to Make Meal Prep a Habit


Nothing in life, ever comes easily. Hey everyone, Dean here and truth be told, I struggled with weight my whole childhood and even though my parents did the best they could to feed us the traditional healthy American diet of the 90s, i still suffered from major man boobs and a whole slue of body image issues. Plus I used to sneak away frequently to eat chicken nuggets at the neighbors, which means that the man boobs we totally my fault, but still the traditional American Diet of the 90s was a little whack. My mom was the one that actually inspired me to start cooking and always kept me involved in the kitchen, which is where my love for healthy cooking started from and for that I'm eternally grateful.

In high school I decided to make a major change in my life and over my junior and senior years I had lost 65 lbs. I increased my vegetable intake, decreased empty calories and ran my butt off (literally I have no butt now) to lose the weight and get healthy, but 8 years later here I am, sharing my tips for how to make meal prep apart of your life.

"If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere you better wake up and pay attention" I think Whoopi Golberg said it best (or should I say, sang it best) in Sister Act II.There is no better day to start something than today, if you want to get healthy, if you want to set a healthy example for your kids, if you want to feel great then you have to work hard. Forget the excuses, and just start, you have to put in the time if you want to reap the reward.If you ever have questions email me or Tina and we'll help you out! DId you know? Today's children are the first generation that is projected to have a shorter life expectancy than today's adults (you)!

Voeden meal plans make life a lot simpler, but we wanted to share a few more tips to help you make meal prep even easier (and more enjoyable):

1. Set aside time each week for meal preparation. I love Sunday mornings right after yoga. I pour a big cup of coffee, put on music and just go at it hard for an hour or two. The key is to set aside time each week to meal preparation. Ideally you'll pick the same time each week so that it becomes engrained into your weekly routine.

2. Mix in a few of your favorite recipes to save on stress. Have you ever noticed that we include a few "Voeden staple" recipes each week into your meal plans? Making a whole week of new recipes is pretty daunting and can be overwhelming, so we take that stress out of it by incorporating a few subscriber favorites into the plans. By making your favorites a few times a week you'll save time because you'll be familiar with the recipes, you'll save on stress, because you can whip it up quickly and you'll save dinnertime because it's a proven winner!

3. Learn to love the process. As a yoga instructor and a cycling coach everyone always asks me how they can get healthy overnight and the honest truth is that you can't. If you're new to Voeden start slowly, try 2-3 meals a week. and as the weeks continue to fly by you'll notice that your nightly freak out about "What's for dinner!?" will disappear. And if you have a bad week (trust us you will) then just start fresh the next day.

4. Make the basics. Each week we pull together a few basic ingredients that can be whipped up and transformed into healthy lunches, and dinners in a flash. Try this:

  • Make a big pot of brown rice or quinoa, then put it in a Tupperware and add it to salads or recipes throughout the week. Doing this seriously saves my life 4-6 days a week.
  • Roast some veggies, pick your favorite seasonal ones and just toss with olive oil and a little salt and pepper.
  • Soak your beans and nuts.

Benefits of Meal Prep:

  • Reduce the number of trips to the grocery store
  • Save money when you don't buy random, excess foods (like M&Ms...)
  • Lower stress when it comes to answering the question "What's for dinner?"
  • Spend less money on take out, which can add up!
  • Great way to get your kids involved without worrying too much about time crunches.

For more tips, recipes and tricks to living a nourished and energized life, try our one-week free trial and feel the difference foods can really make.