Advanced Holiday Planning: Meals You can Make Ahead for a Stress-free Holiday

Written by Sylvia Geiger MS, RD, CD
Price Chopper Community Nutritionist

Like many families, ours has several holiday traditions that involve lots of food and gatherings with friends and family to enjoy lively festivities. Our Christmas parties are multi-generational family affairs where everyone pitches in and helps to make them a success. However, I’m the one who orchestrates the events and I’m all about minimizing the stress level.  After all, I want to enjoy myself as well, not just make the magic happen for others.

Food plays a huge role in all holiday traditions, but many of these foods break all the rules of sound dietary advice.  It’s no secret that holiday fare is typically loaded with all the dietary no- no’s— too many calories, and too much fat, sugar and salt. However, with some thoughtful recipe selection, you can serve delicious, make-ahead treats that will celebrate the occasion yet also fit into everyone’s meal plan.

As anyone who has ever thrown a party knows, advanced planning is the key to success. Here are some of the holiday recipes I plan on making ahead this year.


Shrimp Puffs

Elegant, make-ahead finger food that will wow your guests!

Kentucky Bourbon Bites  or Mini Meatloaf

These meatballs use very lean beef but can also be made with ground turkey.  Make them weeks ahead and freeze. Heat them up the day of the party in a crock pot.

Oven Fried Chicken

Make ahead and serve cold. A healthy & tasty substitute for high-fat chicken wings.

Chile-Garlic Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The potatoes can be sliced days in advance and stored in water in the fridge.  Simply pop them in the oven before your party and serve with dipping sauce. They’re a kid-friendly party pleaser.

Chipotle-Marinated Pork Tenderloin

Marinate days in advance. This succulent pork tenderloin can be served hot or chilled and thinly sliced on crackers or crusty bread.

Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes

Use small potatoes as serve as finger food. Easy to make ahead and finish off before the guests arrive.

 Apricot Canapes

Easy, lovely and tasty mouthfuls!

Chocolate Fondue

Crowd pleasing fondue is eye-candy for any holiday spread and delicious way to enjoy fruit.

Chicken Pot Pie or Chilaquiles Casserole

These recipes can be made in advance and frozen, heat and serve for hungry guests or a last minute family meals when you are too busy to cook.


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