SANTEE, CA – Each year, Thanksgiving is a time to gather with family or friends to take stock and be grateful for all the good things in our lives. Ask anyone, though, and they’ll likely tell you: It’s also a time for food.
The list is long. From turkey and stuffing to cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without the quintessential spread of classic dishes on your dining room table.
While the list is long, it’s also expensive.
Food costs are on the rise in the United States. If you plan to cook a typical Thanksgiving feast for 10 this year, it’ll cost you about $ 53.31, or under $ 6 per person, according to an annual survey released by Farm Bureau. That’s up 14 percent from last year, when the average Thanksgiving dinner for 10 cost $ 46.90.
The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – will also cost you considerably more than last year. At $ 23.99 for a 16-pound bird, the cost of turkey is up 24 percent from 2020, Farm Bureau said.
Additionally, if you figure in drinks, decor, tableware and other necessities, you could pay just over $ 310 to feed a party of 10, a survey of 1,000 people conducted by Lending Tree found.
For some families, even the cost of food will be too much to shoulder.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people in the United States experienced food insecurity and hunger, many for the first time.
Before the pandemic, 35.2 million people in the United States were considered food insecure, according to: Feeding America:, the nation’s largest food relief organization. This year, that number could grow to nearly 42 million people.
In San Diego County, about 9.2 percent of residents were considered: food insecure: prior to the pandemic coronavirus, according to Feeding America. This year, that number could grow to 11.4 percent of residents.
The bottom line is millions of families could see empty plates on their Thanksgiving dinner tables.
But cooking Thanksgiving dinner does not have to break the bank, especially if you plan to host a small group of family members over the holiday. While these may not help in every situation, there are tips, tricks and shortcuts available to help US families enjoy a delicious holiday dinner on a budget.
Here are a few:
Watch For Free (Or Discounted) Turkeys:
Nationally, some: grocery stores: are recognizing the challenges facing US families in 2021 and are offering turkeys and other Thanksgiving staples at wildly low prices. Some stores are giving away turkeys, while some are throwing one in if you purchase a ham.
Also, grocery savings app Ibotta is one-upping free turkey offers this year by offering a way to get an entire Thanksgiving dinner for free. Just shop at Walmart and you could get 100 percent cash back on certain purchased items.
Buy canned cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie filling and other canned goods the week before Thanksgiving when they are typically on sale.
Deviate From The Classics:
Creating your own Thanksgiving traditions can mean just as much, if not more, to your family.
Don’t feel as though you have to cook turkey the traditional Thanksgiving way, especially since not everyone is a fan of turkey. (A survey from: Instacart: reveals that a lot of people actually dislike classic turkey.) You can roast turkey legs, which are available at a fraction of the cost of a whole bird. Also, instead of a classic turkey, grill turkey burgers.
You can also go rogue and skip turkey altogether. See which meats are on sale the week of Thanksgiving and plan your menu around that. If it’s sausage or ground beef, have an Italian feast for Thanksgiving. If it’s chicken, make chicken and noodles. Don’t feel bad about changing things up.
Slow Down, Iron Chef:
Do not spend time considering complex recipes requiring dozens of ingredients. Stick to simple dishes that everyone loves. For instance, you can make a: basic scalloped corn: that many people enjoy. Or you could do a simple: sweet potato casserole:, mashed potatoes: or a: green bean casserole:. None of these requires extremely fancy or expensive ingredients.
Also, you do not need a dozen ingredients to make food taste spectacular. Certain ingredients make all the difference: a lemon, an orange and some spices go a long way when it comes to taking roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce and other dishes from ordinary to holiday meal-worthy.
Make It BYOS (Bring Your Own Side)
As long as you let guests know in advance, most won’t mind bringing something to dinner. This leaves you with turkey as your sole responsibility while potatoes, vegetables, cranberries and dessert can be assigned to others in the family.
If you absolutely enjoy cooking the entire meal, consider cost-sharing. Ask family members to pitch in toward the overall cost of dinner.
Not Sure What To Cook?
Here are some helpful roundups of budget-friendly Thanksgiving recipes:
If You Can, Donate:
Perhaps Thanksgiving dinner isn’t among your list of worries this year. If so, consider donating a Thanksgiving meal to: local food banks. The Feeding America network includes over 200 food banks throughout the United States that work with food pantries and soup kitchens to reach communities. Once you find a food bank near you, be sure to check drop-off information, operation hours and the: most-needed items:.
Find your local food bank:
Make a donation to Feeding America:*
“The Impact of Coronavirus On Food Insecurity”
Take action against hunger:
Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2021, more than 42 million Americans won’t have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the pandemic coronavirus. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. * Find out how you can donate in your community or: find a food pantry near you:.