Typically, I find holidays to be stressful with all the traveling to parties, cooking, and cleaning house. And, preparing healthy, wholesome foods during the holidays can add unnecessary stress if not planned in advance. Unfortunately stress can often interfere with the healing process and weaken our immune system

Let's take a few hours each day this week to prepare for celebrating Thanksgiving, rather than stressing out and preparing everything the night before or the day of. Let's also not forget to take some time out for ourselves to rest, relax, and make a list of what we're most grateful for.

Here are some suggestions for preparing healthy food in advance:

MONDAY:
• Make mushroom soup for the green bean casserole
• Prepare cranberry sauce and put in fridge until ready to serve
• Make sure your turkey is in the fridge thawing out (it typically takes a frozen turkey a few days to thaw)

TUESDAY:
• snap ends off of green beans and put back in the fridge until you're ready to prepare green bean casserole
• Make dessert (pumpkin piepumpkin muffins, or maybe carob cupcakes)

WEDNESDAY:
• Make green bean casserole and store in fridge until ready to bake (30-40 minutes before serving turkey)
• Make stuffing and store in fridge until ready to stuff the turkey
• Slice onions and make crispy onions for the green bean casserole.

THURSDAY:
• Stuff and prepare turkey, then bake. Temperature for a cooked turkey is 180 degrees.
• When the turkey is done, take the juices and fat and make homemade gravy.
• Make mashed potatoes or a healthy sweet potato casserole.
• Bake green bean casserole 30-40 minutes for dinner time.
• Warm whole grain rolls or bread just before serving.

Now, hopefully you aren't preparing ALL of these things, and you are delegating to friends and family. We have to remember that we get together and celebrate the holidays with those we are thankful for—wouldn't it be nice to spend lots of time with our loved ones rather than in the kitchen? Inviting others to help prepare healthy options is a good way to make sure everyone enjoys a healthy holiday with lots of love and laughter.

Tipoftheday Remember, the less processed your holiday fare, the better you'll feel after the holiday. So, skip the sugar and make good choices full of protein, fruits and vegetables and whole grains. If you need a quick reminder of all the unhealthy ingredients in typical, processed holiday foods, check out this free download.