Thanksgiving needn't be a stressful time of year. In fact, hosting Thanksgiving can be a lot of fun. This year, rather than obsessing over the food and the table decor, I've tried to reflect more on the meaning of Thanksgiving. To be thankful for what I have, and for the people I love. After all, Thanksgiving is just one day, but we have so much to be thankful for every day. Keeping that perspective takes a lot of the pressure off of trying to create a perfect meal (which, by the way, does not exist outside magazines!). All that aside, planning is a key component of hosting any event. Below, I've laid out a series of Thanksgiving day recipes and ideas–mostly healthy, mostly simple, and most of which can be made (at least partially) in advance. Here's to a fun, relaxed, and joyful Thanksgiving!

Herb Roasted Turkey with Apple Cider Brine

Sick of having a dry turkey? Brining your turkey–soaking it overnight in a saline solution before roasting–definitely creates the moistest, most flavorful turkey you can imagine. Full disclosure: it does take a bit of work, but the end result is fantastic. Give it a try!

Winter Squash Salad with Kale & Pomegranate Seeds

This salad is a perfect canvas to experiment with different types of winter squash. I used acorn and Delicata, but you could really use any type–butternut or Kabocha would also be nice. The gorgeous colors make it an ideal side dish for the holidays.

Farro with Wild Mushrooms

This is a healthy adaptation of my favorite Thanksgiving Day dish growing up: my mom's Brown Rice. I took out the stick of butter and the cans of soup, and substituted farro for the rice and fresh mushrooms for canned. The end result? Still intensely flavorful–without feeling so heavy.

Brussels Sprouts & Red Cabbage Slaw

Super healthy and easy to prepare, Brussels sprouts are a must for me on Thanksgiving day. Studded with dried cranberries and pine nuts, this slaw is delicious and takes only 20 minutes to prepare.

Simple Roasted Cauliflower

If you're not a cauliflower fan (as I used to claim I wasn't), try roasting it. Tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper and blasted in a hot oven, this normally bland vegetable is utterly transformed.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Red Onions & Arugula

This is one of my all-time favorite ways to eat sweet potatoes. I love the amazing combination of flavors: sweet potatoes and roasted red onions with rosemary, salty Parmesan, and peppery arugula.