“What if, today, we were grateful for everything?” asks Charlie Brown.

You don’t need to be a beloved cartoon character to understand the meaning of Thanksgiving. Giving thanks seems like an excellent goal for this year’s celebration … and every day, really. Here are three important steps for a healthy, delicious holiday.

First, Be Safe

Photo by DizzyLizzy1227.
Photo by DizzyLizzy1227.

Millions of Americans will be celebrating this Thanksgiving. So, let’s make sure everybody enjoys the meal and doesn’t get ill.

From safely thawing a turkey to making sure it’s properly cooked, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration offers a range of tips to keep your holiday safe.

Want a little extra help? Here are some of the common cooking mistakes for every course of Thanksgiving from the folk at Bon Appetit.

Second, Savor the Meal

Thanksgiving meals are typically huge culinary productions. But before you pile lots of food on your plate, take the time to consider these seven steps from University of California scientists and researchers.

Yes, there is a science to enjoying your meal!

UC scientists explain how to use all your senses correctly, and get the most out of your holiday. There’s even a video that shows how science can improve your pie making skills.

Third, Don’t Waste

Enjoy your meal, but let’s make a point to reduce food waste this holiday season. Food Tank reports:

“Each year, consumers purchase over 700 million pounds of turkey, according to the National Turkey Federation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects that 35 percent of the meat purchased does not get eaten–ending up in landfills, along with sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin pie, and other holiday fare.”

Photo by LuAnn Snawder Photography.
Photo by LuAnn Snawder Photography.

One idea is to take an inventory in your kitchen before you go shopping. Ask guests to bring extra containers, so they can take home plenty of leftovers. Then save food scraps to make a turkey soup the next day, or freeze extra food for later meals.

Here are some ideas from Food Tank for reducing food waste.

However you celebrate Thanksgiving, the staff of UC Food Observer wishes you a safe, happy and healthy holiday.

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Learn more about native and indigenous foods from Valerie Segrest of the Muckleshoot Tribe in the Pacific Northwest.

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