Thanksgiving Shopping Guide

November 12, 2019 | Food Lion
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Having friends and family over for Thanksgiving is always a cheerful occasion. But, no matter how much you plan for everything to go smoothly, things don't always go according to plan. However, with this shopping guide, you can at least avoid running out of food. Which if that's ever happened to you, you know it can be a little stressful. So, before you head to the grocery store, get a final guest count and take a look at our Thanksgiving shopping guide to determine how much food you will need per guest.

Thanksgiving Shopping Guide
Thanksgiving Shopping Guide | Appetizers | Food Lion

With the cheat sheet above, you now have a go-to reference for how much food and beverages you'll need per guest at the Thanksgiving table. But let's take a closer look at some of the specifics.

Small Appetizers

Thanks to our Thanksgiving shopping guide, you now know to plan for two to three servings per person for appetizers, but that can be tricky. For individual bite-size appetizers like Mushroom, Apple & Cheese Bites, Deviled Eggs, and Stuffing Bites, it is much easier to determine whether or not you have enough. Just make sure each guest can have at least two individual appetizer pieces.

But, if you're going the route of a dip, it can be a little harder to know what two to three servings looks like. This is when it's especially important to pay attention to the specific recipe. Generally, the total number of servings the recipe makes is listed for you. For example, if you were making our Hot Vidalia Onion Dip, the recipe states that it serves eight. From there, adjustments can be made to meet the needs of your specific guest count.

Thanksgiving Shopping Guide | Turkey | Food Lion


They don’t call Thanksgiving “Turkey Day” for nothing. Turkey is truly the iconic staple of this fall festivity. In fact, according to a recent article by CNBC,* “45 million turkeys” are served each Thanksgiving. That’s a lot of turkey! 

Since this main course is loved by so many, that means it is especially important to get the perfect sized turkey so everyone can have their fill. The rule of thumb is one pound per person. So, if you’re planning on ten people attending your Thanksgiving feast, make sure to pick up a 10-pound turkey or larger at your local Food Lion. 


Whether your family calls it “stuffing” or “dressing”, the important thing is that this savory side dish is on the table (with a saucer of gravy, of course)! According to our Thanksgiving shopping guide, you should prep enough stuffing for each person to dish out one cup. However, if you select a recipe that includes sausage and/or nuts, you may want to make a bit less, as these additions make the dish a little heartier.

Thanksgiving Shopping Guide | Drinks | Food Lion


Ever heard the phrase “wet your whistle”? With all of the food being passed around the table, that’s exactly why drinks are essential. Whether it’s a glass of wine or a beer for the adults or lemonade and iced tea for the kiddos, you can plan on each dinner guest drinking one cup (or eight ounces) per hour. 

We also recommend picking up an extra bag or two of ice from your local Food Lion to make sure you have plenty on-hand to keep everyone’s drinks cold and refreshing. After all, large groups can quickly empty out your ice maker, and no one wants to deal with refilling ice trays.


Who doesn’t love a warm roll with butter to pair with a delicious Thanksgiving meal? Typically one roll per person will do, but make sure to consider the size of the rolls you choose when making that decision. If your favorite rolls are on the smaller side, you may want to buy some extra just in case your guests want a couple of rolls with their meal. 

Thanksgiving Shopping Guide | Potatoes | Food Lion


Whether you’re planning on making mashed potatoes or a sweet potato casserole, according to our Thanksgiving shopping guide, plan on buying ½ pound of potatoes per person. And for mashed potatoes, don’t forget the ever-important gravy. 

Looking for ways to spice up your traditional mashed potatoes? Try making loaded mashed potatoes with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon pieces. You can also mix in a little sour cream in place of some of the milk. Then, serve chopped green onion on the side or sprinkle on top. 

Cranberry Sauce

This traditional Thanksgiving staple adds a punch of sweetness to an overall savory meal. But how much do you really need? We recommend ⅓ cup per person. Now, for the big question - do you buy a can or make a Homemade Cranberry Sauce or relish? The choice is yours!

Thanksgiving Shopping Guide | Veggies | Food Lion


When it comes to vegetables this time of year, the popular dishes commonly include casseroles, such as green bean casserole, broccoli & cheese casserole, etc. However, for lighter side dish options, some families choose steamed or roasted veggies. The general rule-of-thumb is to make ⅓ pound of vegetables per guest.

For roasted vegetables, the autumn season is all about root veggies. Think carrots, potatoes and beets. And if you want to try something a little more adventurous, toss some parsnips or turnips into the mix. 

Whipped Cream

Let’s face it - pie is a big deal at Thanksgiving. Whether you’ve baked pecan, pumpkin, apple or sweet potato pie, this dessert isn’t complete without a healthy helping of whipped cream. Typically, you’ll need ¼ cup of whipped cream per person.

Thanksgiving Shopping Guide | Ice Cream | Food Lion

Ice Cream

If you choose to serve ice cream with your pie, or on its own, make sure to buy enough for each guest to enjoy two scoops each. And if you’re not sure which flavor to choose, vanilla (or vanilla bean) is always a safe bet and goes great with pie. 


At the end of a fantastic Thanksgiving meal, your guests may want to enjoy a hot cup of coffee (regular or decaf). As we mentioned in our Thanksgiving shopping guide, one cup per person should be a good amount to plan on brewing. 

And there you have it! You’re now ready to head to your nearest Food Lion (with your Thanksgiving shopping guide in hand), pick up what you need, make treats to go around, and have a memorable holiday with family and friends.

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