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Every family has their own quirky foods they always need at the Thanksgiving table in order for it to officially be considered the Thanksgiving meal. There are the Thanksgiving food traditions like turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce. But, many families spiral off into their own items! Here are five food ideas to add to your Thanksgiving menu this year.

Relish Tray

Moms, if you aren’t setting out a relish tray, you are missing out! The relish tray is basically the babysitter/crowd pleaser/mob tamer of Thanksgiving! In fact, you can assign kids the task of “putting together” the tray. Because basically, it cannot be messed up. So, when people start asking questions about timing and discussing their hunger levels, you just direct them toward the relish tray and away from your stress-free Thanksgiving zen.

So, what do you put on a relish tray? Start new Thanksgiving food traditions and stock the relish tray with pickles, olives, any pickled items, carrot sticks, cheese cubes, any small snacks that your family will nibble on.

Seriously, this will save your sanity!

Soup Starter

Soup? Thanksgiving isn’t about soup! It’s about casseroling yourself into a food coma. Who throws soup into that? You do!

For example, there are great fall soups like butternut squash or pumpkin that can be made ahead and just be warming in a slow cooker. This is a great thing to have on standby when your meal prep math doesn’t add up and you need an extra 45 minutes of oven time. Sit everyone down for the first course and act like this was the plan all along!

Top-Your-Own-Sweet Potatoes

Not gonna lie, the top-your-own-sweet-potato bar is not one of our Thanksgiving food traditions for the novice. This adds some extra prep and logistics but also solves the issue of making sweet potatoes with brown sugar and nut topping and having marshmallow lovers revolt at the table.

Make your normal sweet potato base sans topping and bake as usual. Then, create a topping bar with mini marshmallows, brown sugar, orange zest and nuts. In fact, you could even include Sunbelt Bakery granola cereal as a fun addition! For the marshmallow fans, have a heat gun or torch available for toasting. Everyone wins, and you’ll create new combinations and Thanksgiving food traditions!

Non-Casseroled Veggies

Someone is always dieting. How could you diet on Thanksgiving?! Not sure, but it’s happening—and your cheesy, soupy, cracker-crumbed veggies are about to become their enemy. So, for the sake of the dieters and to balance out every other “hearty” offering, try putting out a few solo veggies. This could be a roasted fall veggie blend, corn on the cob, steamed broccoli or whatever you think will go nicely alongside your other offerings. You don’t have to go crazy, but one or two options should appease everyone.

Apple Cider or Hot Cocoa

Often, after the meal, adults like a cup of coffee. Sometimes the coffee is served as a buffer between the big meal and the dessert bar. Try adding warm apple cider or cocoa for kids (and adults) during the “coffee course.” While dinner is being enjoyed, cider or cocoa can be warming on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. For a bonus, make sure to have cinnamon sticks to simmer in and serve with apple cider and offer mini marshmallows or peppermint sticks for cocoa.

It’s Your Thanksgiving, with a Twist!

Let this be the year you try some new Thanksgiving food traditions. Of course, keep your usual suspects and all your recurring oddities. Just allow these ideas to complement your favorite Thanksgiving offerings!

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