It’s tempting to not eat anything in the few (many?) hours before sitting down for the big Thanksgiving meal. Unfortunately, this is the wrong move. First, hangry is not the right mood to bring to the party. Second, you’ll just end up overdoing it when it’s finally time to feast.

Whether you’re hosting one or a dozen guests this year, setting out a few appetizers and drinks can take the edge off and make the day feel even more celebratory. One or two of these highlights from our archives paired with a few jars of pickles and a plate of sliced apples or pears (and maybe a nice hunk of cheese) should do the trick.

We’ve also included a few drinks at the end, in case your crew is the imbibing sort. For more ideas, search the Recipe Finder.

Blue Cheese Straws, above. Even if you’re not a fan of elaborate appetizers before a big meal, you might want something to nibble on with an appetite-opening cocktail. These blue cheese straws — simple, buttery and just a bit funky — fit the bill.


Roasted Feta with Grapes and Olives. Mostly hands-off, this deconstructed cheese platter pairs salty, silky feta with sweet red grapes and briny black olives. Roasted under a drizzle of oil spiced with red pepper flakes and fennel, it’s especially cozy right out of the oven with crusty bread.


Muhammara (Syrian Red Pepper and Walnut Dip). Savory and festively dressed, this tangy spread comes together quickly in a food processor, works well with bread, crackers or crisp vegetables for dipping, and is best made a few days in advance, so its flavors can meld. This Roasted Red Pepper and Hazelnut Dip is another option.


Nakladany Hermelin (Czech-Style Marinated Camembert). The ultimate make-ahead appetizer, this Czech-style marinated camembert is supremely creamy with a sneaky hint of spice. If your crowd prefers a more mild creamy cheese, go with Baked Brie.


Roasted Fall Fruit with Balsamic-Ginger Glaze. Here’s a great way to work some fruit into this typically heavy day of eating. The figs, grapes and pears can be roasted a few days in advance. Serve them over yogurt or oatmeal the morning of Thanksgiving, or later in the day with creamy cheeses or spiced nuts.


Maple Spiced Glazed Nuts. Maple syrup adds crunch and sweetness to these pecans (or whatever nuts you have handy), which get a hint of heat from cayenne and warmth from cinnamon. They make a great all-day snack, can be paired with cheese or fruit, or even help dress a pumpkin pie or custard for dessert.


Cereal Snack Mix. Crunchy and full of flavor just like the original, this snack mix gets a boost from crispy roasted chickpeas, whole wheat pita chips, almonds and pumpkin seeds.


Fig and Fennel Caponata. If you have time and energy for some additional prep, we highly endorse this rustic sweet-and-sour dip from Ina Garten. Serve it with toasted bread for a substantial snack. Any extras would be superb on your next-day turkey sandwich.


Spinach Spread. This spinach dip, creamy with yogurt and feta, comes together in minutes in the food processor, and can be made two days in advance. Serve it with slices of bread or your favorite crackers for a filling, all-day snack.


Spiced Cider Old-Fashioned. Mix up a batch of spiced cider syrup and then use it to make a few seasonal drinks — with or without alcohol. Eve is another simple, apple-flavored aperitif for sipping before the meal.


Gin Apple Cider. Gin adds a refreshing zip to apple cider. The recipe makes as little or as much as you’d like (read: it batches up easily). If your gathering is smaller or you’d like to shake up a few cocktails, try the pleasantly tart and lightly spiced Thanksgiving Daiquiri.


Negroni. Something bitter and strong can do wonders before a heavy dinner. We’re partial to the classic, but if you are so inclined, you could also explore a few of the Negroni’s cousins: the Boulevardier (with bourbon), the Toffee Negroni (with aged rum and sherry) and the Cin-Cyn (with an artichoke liqueur such as Cynar). If you’re not quite on board the bitter train yet, go with the easy-sipping Aperol Spritz. If you don’t want much alcohol but do want bitter, try Orange on Orange (a mocktail) or, even simpler, stir a few dashes of your favorite bitters into soda water.


Orange Honey Ginger Ale. Honey tames the heat of fresh ginger, which spikes this fruity and festive nonalcoholic drink. Make the syrup base in advance and then it’s easy to top each glass off with seltzer to order.