It goes without saying that Thanksgiving is quite a big deal. I’d venture to say that it’s the most labor intensive meal you’ll make or have the opportunity to eat all year! Nonetheless, people generally expect appetizers, whether out of tradition or for practicality (what do you mean, the turkey takes six hours?). Since holiday food is often on the heavier side, it’s easy for appetizers to lean that way too. This handy guide will give you some ideas to ensure that you can make a Thanksgiving turkey, and still have room to eat it. After all, everyone’s real favorite is dessert!

1. Use spices: Holiday food demands flavor, and while butter is one way to achieve this, spices will wake up your palate without the heaviness. // Spiced Eggplant Hummus

2. Try different textures: The crunch that comes with many vegetables makes them entirely satisfying, and if you pair that with unexpected flavors, you’ll be inclined to eat less before the meal. // Peppered Pickled Carrots

3. Individual servings: If you have a large bowl out, it’s way too easy to keep going back for more. Individual servings make your guests a bit more conscious of exactly how much they’re eating, and ensure there’s a finite supply. // Quinoa Salad in Endive Cups

4. Less is more: I think we can all agree that life is nothing without cheese. That still doesn’t mean that cheese plates are necessarily the best option for Thanksgiving. Just a sprinkle, especially when paired with fruit, generally does the trick. // Caramelized Apple and Blue Cheese Crostini

5. Full of air: Things that are light tend to be, well, full of air. This means you’ll get full less quickly than with something very dense, such as nuts. // Brown Butter, Lemon, and Rosemary Popcorn

I’d love to hear, what’s your take on Thanksgiving day appetizers?