Navigating the Holidays and Food Choices

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food veganWe became a vegan family in February 2018, after the craze of the holidays had passed. Excited by our new lifestyle we didn’t stop to think about how our new food choices would affect those delicious traditional meals we were so accustomed to.

As the holidays of 2018 reared their ugly heads and came towards us we began to panic. How would we explain this to our families? Could we remake meals? How do you have a turkey without having a turkey? Did I have to give up pumpkin pie!?! (That almost reverted me back to non-veganism.)

But we figured it out, by trial and error, by researching our hearts out, and by asking those who had more experience with this lifestyle than we did. We created new traditions and our kids, who have never known anything other than veganism, don’t feel like they are missing out.

Now I’m assuming you’re reading this because you have friends or family that have a new diet or lifestyle and you have no idea what to serve them. Here are some quick tips for you!

  1. Ask what their restrictions are – Sounds simple right? But it can be complex. Some individuals may be vegan but also restrict carbs for health reasons (aka me). Others could be vegetarian but excluding eggs, or be meat eaters but need to cut back on sodium intake. I know what you may be thinking “In my parent’s day they didn’t have to navigate through all these restrictions.” Yes, I know but in your parent’s day we didn’t know how aggressively eating the wrong thing could affect us or why we were always bloated or fatigued.
  2. Ask them what replacements they prefer – There is some vegan cheese I consume like it’s going out of style, there are others that I avoid like the plague. Just because it meets their dietary requirements may not mean that they like how that brand tastes. Remember you have preferences too! It’s better to ask them what they prefer and another hint, ask where they purchase these items. I generally which stores carry my favorite vegan cheese, favorite oat milk, etc.
  3. Do a trial run – Worried about making vegan mac and cheese? Unsure about the vegan roast you purchased? Do a trial run! Not only will it give you and your family a chance to try something new (and maybe even find a new favorite!), it’ll put your mind at ease when the time comes to make the meal for your family or friend.
  4. Clearly mark items – Make sure you clearly mark what is vegan, vegetarian, or whatever other food restriction your family or friend has. As a vegan mom with young kids who are starting to serve themselves, it puts my mind at ease when I can tell them ‘the yellow platter is all vegan, or this section of the table is all vegan.’ They’re able to feel proud about serving themselves and the independence that comes with that and I’m not having to jump up every second worried they may have grabbed something that would upset their stomachs. This being said please don’t make your guest feel excluded. Keep a theme like all blue dishes fit their dietary requirements or their items are to the left or the right. This way they still feel included in the event.

I hope these tips help! It’s always rough navigating something for the first time, but asking for help is always appreciated. If you ever need vegan tips or tricks my door is always open! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season celebrating with those you love and hold dear!

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