You know it’s coming.
- The holiday anxiety is headed your way. All the foods to partake in or avoid are getting ready to flood your feed, your home, and your belly.
- Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, or omnivore, you’re bracing for the impact of politely refusing (or not) the multitude of food choices that are headed your way soon – if they’re not already there. You’re preparing for “no thank you’s”, “yes please’s” and probably indigestion.
- It can be hard to navigate the holidays in a way that you enjoy without pigging out on yummy holiday foods that make you miserable.
- Or without catching flack from family and friends who don’t share the same eating style as you.
- The thing is, whether you’re a solely plant-based eater or not, you can have a holly, jolly, plant-based holiday you enjoy minus the awkward silences (and the fluffy feeling you get after your last bite).
- Without further ado, tips to surviving and thriving a plant-based lifestyle this season.
1. Own your eating style
Are you a vegan? Pescatarian? Maybe you alternate on the regular between slicing through that medium rare slab of beefy goodness and nom nom-ing the nearest plant-based bean burger.
- Whatever your eating style is, proclaim it! Loud and proud.
- Avoid potentially awkward conversations and situations by letting people know what your food preferences are in advance. Don’t make it weird. But don’t be scared to tell folks your likes and dislikes during the holidays.
2. Prepare for the Q&A
While you’re out there giving all your friends and fam the scoop on what you eat and don’t eat, be prepared to tell them why.
- Or at least why not.
- If you’re vegan, you’ll get the most questions. Some will be very reasonable. And some will be ridiculous. That’s ok. Answer them anyway. Here’s a list of common questions vegans get asked to help you prepare!
- The more comfortable you are with answering questions about your plant-based holiday food choices, the less likely you are to catch any flack about them. People may still think it’s ridiculous to only eat conventional meat for Sunday dinner (or once a week or not at all) but they’ll respect how thorough your responses are to their questions. Plus, being comfortable with questions means you're confident in your eating style.
- It’s like coming out of the closet. Only with food.
3. Fill your belly (beforehand)
On the off chance that you’re not super enthused about dishing the deets on your eating habits to others, there’s a solution for that.
- Eat in advance.
- Before that holiday party chock full of holiday foods that you want to avoid, eat at home. That way you at least have a polite – and true – excuse to decline food at the party.
- Or, if giving the scoop on your vegan, flexitarian, or vegetarian lifestyle isn’t a problem, you can still crush the desire to gobble up aaaaaaaaall the holiday party yum yums within arm’s reach by filling your belly with good-for-you goodies at home first.
4. Take advantage of the 7 P’s
Proper previous planning prevents pitifully poor performance.
- Educate yourself on holiday foods that don’t mesh with your foodie lifestyle.
- If you’re vegan, you’re probably pretty aware of many (or most) foods that contain animal products. But figuring out what holiday foods are vegan or not can be challenging.
- Do your research and prepare for common holiday foods you may be presented with at family gatherings and holiday parties. For instance, traditional canned cranberry sauce? Not vegan. You can make your own vegan or vegetarian cranberry sauce with this amazing recipe!
You’re obviously welcome to BYOB too. I’m sure no one would complain!
- But if you want to make sure you’ve got at least one dish that suits your needs, it might be good to bring your own food.
- Don’t expect the host of any holiday party or family gathering to make food especially for you. Even if you’ve told them you’re a plant-based eater every year since birth. As a host, it can be challenging and stressful to prepare foods that everyone can eat and enjoy!
- So make a holiday dish (or two or three) that suits your style and that everyone can feast on!
- You have food that you know you’ll love and they get the chance to experience eating through your rose-colored glasses! It’s a win-win.
6. Don’t be a food snob
You have the chance to win friends and influence people with every holiday gathering you attend!
- Don’t ruin it by turning your nose up at folks who don’t do what you do.
- Do unto others and all that jazz. If you respect their food choices, show compassion and empathy, you’re more likely to spark interest and a genuine conversation about yours.
- Trying to convert someone to your vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian lifestyle? It will be a lot easier if you’re courteous. And even if you’re not in it to win it, you still want mutual respect for each other’s differences.
7. Focus on friends and family
While food is often the focus of holiday parties and family gatherings, don’t forget that the most important thing there isn’t the food.
- It’s the people.
- If you don’t feel like explaining your love of all things plant-based or you’re just not ready to come out of the proverbial closet, steer the conversation towards something non-food related. Catch up with old friends. Ask about the family.
- Take an interest in their interests and remind them that you’re still the same ole you no matter what you do or don’t eat!
- Your plant-based food journey doesn’t have to change during the holidays. And it definitely doesn’t have to be filled with awkward silences, blank stares, or polite “no thank you’s”. It’s the perfect time to eat, drink and be merry no matter what food choices you’ve decided to make!
- So make it easy on yourself! Take these tips to heart and this season will go a whole lot smoother!
- Need some plant-based foodie support? Join the Prime Roots community of foodies! We’re on a mission to nourish people and planet. It’s free to join and you get to be in the know when we offer monthly freebies and giveaways! Also, be invited to exclusive virtual and in person events that will land you free food!