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.
Healthy Holiday Food Makeovers
The content of this article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Edible IQ urges you to seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition. Edible IQ advises you to never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Website.
If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or local emergency service immediately. Edible IQ does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the website. Edible IQ does not guarantee the accuracy of information on the Website and reliance on any information provided by Edible IQ is solely at your own risk.
- Sung SoonJung, Kwon SunJa. (2010). Effect of eating with family or alone on the self-rated mental or physical health – the elementary school children in Daejeon area. Korean Journal of Community Nutrition. 15(2) pp.206-226 ref.32. Retrieved from https://www.cabdirect.org/cabdirect/abstract/20103190133
- Derbyshire, Emma J. (2017). Flexitarian Diets and Health: A Review of the Evidence-Based Literature. Front Nutr. 2016; 3: 55. doi: [10.3389/fnut.2016.00055]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5216044/
American Dietetic Association, Dietitians of Canada. (2003). Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada: vegetarian diets. Can J Diet Pract Res. 64(2):62-81.. DOI: 10.3148/64.2.2003.62 Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12826028
Craig WJ. (2010). Nutrition concerns and health effects of vegetarian diets.
Nutr Clin Pract. 25(6):613-20. doi: 10.1177/0884533610385707. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21139125
- Claire E. Adams and Mark R. Leary (2007). Promoting Self–Compassionate Attitudes Toward Eating Among Restrictive and Guilty Eaters. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology: 26(10) pp. 1120-1144.
Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1521/jscp.2007.26.10.1120