With the holiday season around the corner, it is time to play host. Stress can always accompany you while doing all the planning and preparations. However, a meal planner can help you serve a wonderful meal while staying calm, cool and collected. With it, you can also create your grocery list well ahead of time to check it twice. Use these following tips for healthy and stylish holiday entertaining.

Guest list: Get a large sheet of notepaper to write down the guest list. Be realistic with numbers and never invite more guests than you are comfortable with. The guest list will give you an idea of how many servings you need to prepare. You can also add a few extra servings for last-minute guests and leftovers.

Meal Planner: Online meal planners can help you find some good holiday recipes. Add your traditional favorites if you want. With these recipes, you can decide which tasks can be performed ahead of time. You also need to make a separate to-do list to prioritize things in the order of importance. Never indulge in unnecessary extravagance that you cannot afford as spending excessively rarely impresses true friends.

New recipes: A stressful time is never a good time to try out a new recipe. If you want to prepare new dishes, then a practice run might help you. However, don’t try to create a menu that is beyond your comfort zone. It is better to serve a well-prepared simple food than a poorly-cooked extravagant dish.

Guests with special needs: People have a variety of dietary needs, and you may have a guest with those special needs. However, there is no need to panic as big holiday meals are perfect with so many dishes. Therefore, there is bound to be something for everyone. You can also check with your guests and make sure you are aware of their needs.

Shopping: As you have the menu, recipes and the shopping list in hand, the shopping won’t demand much effort. Before you go shopping, remember to check your spice drawer for any holiday favorites you need such as sage and thyme. Online bulk shopping can also be done as it takes a lot of the physical effort out of the equation.

Cooking ahead: The more you make ahead, the less you stress. Planning ahead would let you cook ahead. Desserts are often perfect for making ahead, and the winter vegetables can also let you do much of the preparation work before the cooking time. All other prepped root vegetables can be refrigerated in air-tight containers. You can also “cheat” a little by buying a few dishes. Some people like to purchase the main entree while others pick up a few sides or desserts. This would ease the cooking burden.

Meal planners would guide you for the stress-free entertaining. However, remember that good hospitality is all about enjoyment for your guests and yourself. Plan everything in advance and try to stick to it.