Newswise — Rising costs at the grocery story will be especially painful for many families this Thanksgiving as they get ready for the biggest meal of the year.
"Food is an important part of holidays, and this is especially true for Thanksgiving," said Jennifer Ebelhar McDaniel, a registered dietician and assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University.
"There's a lot of pressure to serve a big, traditional Thanksgiving meal, but for many people that's just not financially feasible this year."
Fortunately, McDaniel says there are seven easy ways to slice your grocery bill without cutting the fun out of the holiday
1. Compose your shopping list one week in advance. This gives you time to search for sales, use coupons, etc. In addition, shopping off a list saves you extra trips to the grocery store (wasted gas) and unnecessary purchases.
2. Don't try to serve it all. You don't need to serve everybody's favorite dish. Choose one protein (usually a turkey), one starch (sweet potato dish), one vegetable and one dessert.
3. Know serving sizes. Make sure the recipes you create are modified for the correct number of people invited.
4. Use frozen vegetables where you can. If you are preparing a recipe like broccoli and cheese casserole, choose frozen vegetables instead of fresh. Frozen vegetables are usually cheaper and offer the same nutrient quality.
5. Buy the whole bird. Usually it is cheaper to purchase the whole turkey rather than buy the pieces separately. Plus, leftover turkey tastes great in a turkey casserole, turkey burritos, turkey and cranberry sandwich, and you can use the bones for soups.
6. Ask for help. Offer to make one or two things and delegate the rest. To add a little fun into your potluck, ask your guests to bring copies of their recipe to share.
7. Skip the paper products. While paper plates and plastic utensils are easier than washing dishes, they are expensive and bad for the environment.
At the risk of sounding like the Grinch who stole Thanksgiving, McDaniel says there are several benefits to cutting back this year, even if it's not financially necessary. First, in addition to saving money, you'll also save calories.
"A typical Thanksgiving feast may include as many as 10 options. Even if you take just a little of each, the calories can really add up," she said. "By limiting the number of dishes offered, your family will be less likely to overeat."
But perhaps the biggest benefit of simplifying your Thanksgiving meal, McDaniel says, is that it will allow you to focus on your family and all you have to be thankful for.
"The holidays weren't meant to be stressful. By simplifying your meal, you'll have more time to relax and enjoy the time with your family," she said.
Long a leader in educating health professionals, Saint Louis University began its nursing program in 1928 and offered its first degree in an allied health profession in 1929. Today the Doisy College of Health Sciences offers degrees in nursing, physical therapy, clinical laboratory science, nutrition and dietetics, health informatics and information management, medical imaging and radiation therapeutics, occupational science and occupational therapy, and physician assistant education. The college's unique curriculum prepares students to work with health professionals from all disciplines to ensure the best possible patient care.