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November 17, 2022

Thanksgiving Apéritif

The word “appetizer” is enough to spark the taste buds and get the mouth watering. But too many savory starters can sabotage your family’s healthy eating habits. Especially at the holidays, when there is often so much variety, it’s easy to eat too much. Especially when you’re hungry. Overindulging in the appetizer fills you up before the meal. For adults this leads to overeating because you will eat that delicious meal anyway. For children, it ruins their appetite, and they won’t want to eat a proper meal. When you know the following three tips, it’s possible to savor your appetizers without sabotaging your meal.

Keep it Small

In France, we call the appetizer the apéritif. Apéritif means to taste and to appease. Just a few bites are the perfect apéritif. The apéritif is not only an enjoyable and delicious tradition but also good for you. When you nibble on an apéritif, the digestive juices start flowing, preparing the digestive system to get to work. Next time you plan appetizers, think apéritif and serve small amounts. You cannot overindulge in what is not there. The rule of thumb in France is 2-3 bites per person.

Mini bouchée filled with Brandade

Keep it Light

Trade in the heavy dips, cheese, and bread, and opt for an appealing and unique vegetable-based appetizer such as endive leaves with blue cheese and walnuts. Or crudités (raw vegetables) and pesto, an especially good idea when you have fussy eaters to nourish. Since children are more willing to eat their veggies when they are hungry, it makes sense to offer them the vegetables before the turkey and stuffing.

Homemade pesto served with crudités is the perfect apéritif. Pesto is not only delicious, it’s loaded with vitamins and nutrients. Pesto is “fancy” enough for adults, and I am constantly surprised by how many fussy eaters will give pesto a thumbs up. Pesto is also easy to make, light, and you can create endless variations. Here are two recipes to inspire you: Basil Pesto and Mint Lemon Pistachio Pesto.  

Simple Basil Pesto with Crudités
Endive leaves on a plate topped with wlanuts, parlsey, rosemary, and bleu d'auvergne cheese
Endive Leaves with Bleu Cheese, Walnuts, and Dijon Sauce

Do Less to Impress

When it comes to appetizers, there is an expectation of serving an elaborate selection of goodies before the meal. If you don’t, it’s as though you aren’t entertaining well when, as you can see, it is counterproductive to entertaining well. When your family and friends are still hungry when it’s time to sit down to eat, they will walk away from the table satisfied without feeling too full. That is what will impress them, and they will thank you.

Get more Thanksgiving Menu ideas here.

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