Thanksgiving Dinner for Small Families

When you’re a small family, it’s hard to justify the large turkey dinner with all the trimmings, especially when you know that the majority of the meal is going to end up as leftovers. While you can freeze some of your leftovers so they don’t go bad, the thought of eating turkey for the next month probably makes you shudder. Don’t fret, you can have your Thanksgiving dinner without all the leftovers, just make sure to scale your Thanksgiving to size.

Big Turkey Alternatives

The easiest way to scale down your turkey dinner is to forget the whole turkey and get turkey breasts or thighs instead. You can cook it in the crockpot with sweet potatos and gravy or just bake it the traditional way. If you’re not a fan of turkey, consider going with ham, Cornish hens or a chicken instead. There’s no rule that says you have to have turkey on Thanksgiving.

Downsize the Side Dishes

You don’t need a table full of sides to make your meal look larger. Just pick two or three of your favorite recipes. To keep your meal healthy, consider having a potato or rice dish, salad and cooked vegetable. All of these side dishes are low cost and can easily be scaled for two or three people. Many recipe sites, like, offer calculators to help you scale down your recipes.

Single Serving Desserts

Ideally, everyone should like the same dessert. However, it’s not always the case. Rather than compromise on your dessert choices, consider purchasing single serving desserts so everyone can enjoy the dessert they want without having to buy two or three desserts.

Remember, the secret to hosting a successful Thanksgiving dinner is all in the planning. Consult with your family to find out the must-have dishes. Create a shopping list. Try to prepare one or two dishes the day before so you have less to do on the holiday. Lastly, don’t stress if everything isn’t perfect. Thanksgiving is about family, not having the perfect gourmet meal.

About the Author

The following post is from Kathryn Katz, a Certified Personal Finance Counselor who works for Consolidated Credit in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Their non-profit agency helps families through financial crisis using credit counseling, debt consolidation and financial education.