Five Tips for a Happy and Healthy Plant-Based Thanksgiving

Last Updated on August 30, 2016 by Diane Hoffmaster

Holidays are a lot of fun…the chaos of having all the aunts, uncles, cousins and friends over for a big meal is a memory that lasts a lifetime.  Along with all those people eating at your home comes a wide array of dietary restrictions.  My mother in law has Celiac disease and can’t eat anything with gluten.  I have friends who are vegetarian, some with high blood pressure who need low salt options, and others who are lactose intolerant who avoid dairy products.  Navigating the array of dietary needs can sometimes be a bit intimidating!  Sometimes, we forget that Thanksgiving can mean more than just turkey, gravy, and foods loaded with butter and salt.  Creating a healthy plant-based Thanksgiving can be challenging but I thought I would share a few tips from Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach Vanessa Chamberlin. Keep these tips in mind when planning your plant-based Thanksgiving this year!  Remember, holidays CAN be both happy and healthy with a little bit of advanced planning!

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Five Tips for a Happy and Healthy Plant-Based Thanksgiving

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Have fun planning a menu. Don’t limit yourself by thinking only of traditional foods. If you’re cooking for a larger group and they’re expecting their holiday favorites, there are ways you can emulate those foods with a healthier recipe, like mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. But if your guests are adventurous, go outside the box! There are tons of amazing seasonal recipes you can make to celebrate harvest time without loading them full of meat and dairy, but you could also look to other cultural dishes to really explore the world in your menu.

Invite people who share your values. This might be easier said than done! It can be a fun way to recharge with people who actually share your values and will appreciate every second you put into planning and cooking for them. People are often busy visiting their families, but with many people living far away from loved ones, an invitation to a fun plant-based holiday gathering can be a great thing.

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Start a new tradition. I love this! Traditions can be anything, whether it’s Frisbee in the park, watching a certain movie, or silly things like hiding something that everyone has to try and find. Have fun with it. If you’re not sure what to do, look up traditions of other cultures and use it as a teaching lesson for your kids.  

Spend time with your loved ones creating memories. What may just be a silly song or movie time or a walk through a pumpkin patch today, could end up being one of our most cherished memories. Remember that the holidays aren’t just about food. It’s about spending time with your loved ones, celebrating the reason you can come together, and being thankful for what your blessings.

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Take time for yourself! It’s not uncommon for us to spend so much time trying to make an enjoyable experience for our children and loved ones that we end up exhausted at the end of the day or weekend. Make sure that you have time to unwind. Get in a workout, meditate, and relax. Whether you enlist help making food or spend some time prepping for your meal in the days before, do what you need to do to keep from getting burned out and overscheduled during the holiday.

Keep in mind that your holiday can still incorporate your healthy habits. There’s no reason why post-Thanksgiving fun can’t be a walk around the block or an hour at the park. You can even pick up a football and play together! The most important thing is to take this time to recharge and take time to feel the joy of gratitude for your blessings, the things you’ve worked hard for, and the people who love you.

Vanessa Chamberlin is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach and author of The Fire-Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet (affiliate link). 

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Comments

  1. Creating memories is so important. We have lost that in our overly consumeristic society.
  2. I could not agree more about taking time for yourself and making the memories. Holidays are not about the food and the drink alone, but your happy and healthy plant based thanksgiving is spot on
  3. Great post! Always fun to start new traditions.
  4. I'm not a turkey lover, so for me having only plant-based foods is a-okay. :) In fact, I'm okay for that for every meal, every day. ;)
  5. That last tip is always a hard one...taking ME time. But I do believe it's essential to a quality life.

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