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Before the Feast: What to Eat The Day of Thanksgiving Before Dinner

What should you eat for breakfast or lunch to make sure you save room for Thanksgiving dinner? We've got you covered with these easy ideas that won't ruin your appetite.

4 min read

On Thanksgiving Day, I always find myself a little confused. I’m gearing up for an epic feast later in the afternoon (or evening, depending on which family we’re going to), I’m half watching the Thanksgiving parade, and half toying with the idea of going for a run (you know, to gear up for that big meal). But the same question runs through my head year after year: What do I eat on Thursday before the feast? Do I eat breakfast? Do I try out the cheese board and crudite, or hold off until it’s time to feast?

To make things even more complicated, often family from out of town are staying over or you’re crunched for time and oven space.

We put together a list of ideas (that also save time) to prep your stomach for Thanksgiving:  

Thanksgiving Breakfast Ideas

Soft or Hard Boiled Eggs For a Crowd

Eggs can tide you over for a few hours, without leaving you feeling full and uncomfortable. Make a big batch (we like using a pressure cooker and egg rack(Opens in a new window) when cooking for a crowd). As people wake up and mosey their way into the kitchen, they can grab an egg or two and a piece of toast. Get our tips for making perfect hard-boiled eggs every time, plus more great ideas for cooking eggs.

Make-Ahead Muffin Tin Eggs When the Oven is Off Limits

Eggs baked in muffin tins(Opens in a new window) are great to make a few days ahead and store in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving morning. Pop them in the toaster oven to reheat and you’ll feel full enough to get you through the day. Plus, get more great ideas of things you can make in muffin tins, including Stuffin' Muffins—the perfect thing to make the day after Thanksgiving with your leftovers.

Early Afternoon Before Thanksgiving Dinner

Fun Beverages to Entertain Out of Town Family

Juggling cooking, setting the table and entertaining family? Distract your family with cocktails! Try setting up a Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar. Or, if you have time earlier in the week, make an apple shrub for people to try out while waiting for the meal. If people are feeling tired, these coffee cocktails are the perfect pick-me-up.

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Cheese Board for Peckish Guests

In my family you’ll find aluminum foil halfway off dishes and fingers fishing for little bites here or there. To get those fingers out of dishes and into another room, set up a cheese board. Include a soft cheese, a hard cheese, and a third wild card cheese to keep things interesting. Throw your favorite jam or chutney on the board too along with some raw or roasted nuts and your favorite olives (we love the green Castelvetrano ones). Have your cheese plane(Opens in a new window), and cheese slicer(Opens in a new window) waiting on the board too so guests feel invited to dig right in.

Break the Rules for Tradition

Above all else, Thanksgiving should be a fun, enjoyable holiday with friends and family, so we think it’s OK to break the rules too. My family has a tradition of making Arancini Balls. They’re fried and not particularly fitting for the fall theme, but it brings everyone together and fills up stomachs until we eat. If you have a tradition, stick to it and don’t stress too much about your stomach on Thanksgiving.

Want more holiday ideas? Try these easy make-ahead Thanksgiving recipes, the must-have tools for making Thanksgiving dinner, plus tips on how to carve your turkey.


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