The thought of having a plant-based Thanksgiving fills you with all sorts of questions. What am I going eat instead of turkey? What if there is nothing plant-based served? How will I explain plant-based eating to family who don’t get it?
When the main course is turkey, gravy, creamy mashed potatoes, buttered vegetables, it becomes a challenge to eat plant-based. Add to that a salad with bacon bits and pumpkin pie made with milk and lard, you may find yourself without a single plant-based option.
Don’t worry, millions of plant-based eaters have managed a plant-based Thanksgiving meal and I’m confident you can too.
Top 5 tips to help you navigate a plant-based Thanksgiving:
1. Bring a dish so you know there will be at least one thing you can eat.
Contact the host before the event and offer to bring a dish. This way you know you’ll have something plant-based to eat. In my experience, others are excited to try plant-based recipes and it helps alleviate all the cooking from the host so it’s a win-win!
2. Ask the cook to serve some plant-based options.
There’s no need to ask them to make completely separate dishes just for you. It can be as easy as getting Grandma to set aside some food for you before she adds butter or cream.
3. Eat a small meal before you go, or bring a snack, in case there is nothing plant-based
This option may be best if you are invited last minute and can’t plan ahead, or don’t feel comfortable with the other options. The pros are that you won’t go hungry, even if none of the dishes are plant-based. The cons are that you aren’t able to fully enjoy the meal with others.
Did you know the social aspects of mealtime are just as important to health as the food itself?
4. Host a plant-based Thanksgiving!
This option gives you full control over the menu and allows you to treat others to your plant-based cooking!
Common plant-based alternatives to turkey are lentil loaf, mushroom wellington, or tofurky. Serve with mashed potatoes, a mushroom gravy, colorful vegetable side dishes and your favorite seasonal plant-based dessert. Yum!
5. Consider eating animal products at the Thanksgiving meal.
This option may be best for those who are plant-based mainly for health reasons, and less for environmental or ethical reasons, or those who eat mostly plant-based. There is plenty of research showing that eating mostly plant-based, such as vegetarian or flexitarian, is a healthy choice. Eating in a way that is flexible and not too rigid has even been shown to reduce stress and guilt!
There are pros and cons to each option. Only you can decide what’s right for you, but I hope my ideas will help you consider a variety of options for a wonderful plant-based Thanksgiving.
Leave a comment with how you plan to eat plant-based at Thanksgiving.
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