The holiday season – the period including Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s – is filled with celebration, delicious food, comfort, relaxation, and time spent enjoying the company of family and friends. But we also know how easily this can become a bust, hectic, and stressful time. While the holiday season can be overwhelming for anyone, it can be particularly challenging for plant-based eaters. Here are some tips to joyfully and healthfully celebrate the holidays while maintaining a plant-based lifestyle.
Host an Amazing Plant-Based Holiday Party
Serve Accessible Appetizers, Finger Foods, and Desserts
Not only are plant-based appetizers, finger foods, and desserts easier to make than a full-fledged holiday meal for a group, they may be an easier sell for any of your more apprehensive guests.
If you want to impress your guests but aren’t quite an expert plant-based chef yet, “beaf” up your spread with Melita’s Table Sampler Platters – our Taco Tasters and Empanada Boxes are great options for a party. Imagine a whole food plant-based holiday feast that comes to your door already cooked – so you can actually relax and enjoy a stress-free (and healthy) holiday party!
Impress With Bold Plant-Based Flavor
If you want your party to be 100% plant-based, try to be considerate to your guests that may be new to the lifestyle. Plant-based eating may be intimidating to some of your friends and family so make it easy on them! Choose recipes with familiar flavor profiles that are familiar to omnivore guests. Also, while you can definitely have healthy salads on hand, now is the time to show your guests that whole food plant-based eating is about so much more than salads!
This Thanksgiving, why not try some delicious local plant-based options that will make even carnivore Uncle Bob’s mouth water?
Thoughtfully Curate the Guest List
We get it – plant-based eating is delicious, healthier, and immensely better for the planet – but some people in your life just won’t be interested. If your holiday party is going to be 100% plant-based, make sure your guests know that and are prepared. If you’re worried about how your omnivore friends and family may react, make sure you have other plant-based eaters there with you for support. Also, remember not to disapprove or be patronizing towards other people’s eating habits and lifestyle: it’s their choice and they’ll change only if they want to change.
Be a Great Plant-Based Guest
Contribute to the Table
If you are attending a holiday party or visiting an omnivore friend or a family member, ask to bring your own foods to contribute. People will appreciate this, as it takes some of the pressure off of the host if they are not familiar with whole food plant-based options. This will also take some stress off of your shoulders as you can trust you’ll have something that fits your dietary needs.
Show Off Plant-Based Flavor
This is your chance to bring something great that may just open some minds! Not everyone has an open mind about new things so feel free not to disclose the details before the guests have tasted the food. When they have already eaten and enjoyed your delicious plant-based dish, then you can reveal the contents…if they’re interested. Often people are surprised the food actually has no oil or dairy products in it and it still tastes good.
Save the Debates for Another Time
Don’t try to “convert” anyone. Understand that even your most supportive friends aren’t always going to jump on the whole food plant-based bandwagon with you. Usually, the best way to “spread the gospel” is by showing how tasty and satisfying plant-based food can be. They may enjoy the delicious plant-based dishes you made and even express how proud they are of you for your lifestyle change, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to take the plunge, too.
Manage Stress and Expectations
Spend Time with Supportive Friends and Family
Especially if you are new to plant-based eating, you may find some people in your life are less than supportive. The best way to ensure a stress-free plant-based holiday season is to surround yourself with supportive friends and family. If your primary network is being extra judgmental or critical of your plant-based lifestyle, this is a great time to connect with the plant-based community for support – trust us, other plant-based eaters will know what you’re going through.
Don’t Evangelize Too Much
Changing your diet, as you know, is deeply personal and is about so much more than food. Just as you wish for your friends and family to support your decisions, you’ve got respect theirs. When folks ask you about your plant-based lifestyle, you can of course share your story and explain why you made the switch. Though try not to shame anyone for their own dietary habits. Everyone’s on their own journey.
At the end of the day, the holidays are about enjoying the season with the people who matter most! Try not to overextend yourself – financially, emotionally, spiritually – and have fun!