With Thanksgiving complete, and Christmas (or Hanukkah) still to come, I had to give you an update on how my cooking adventures went for Thanksgiving. As I mentioned, I am not usually the one to cook the entire meal for a holiday, so this was my first. It was also the first time that I tried to make an entire meal plant based (and using recipes I had never tried before). It was definitely a recipe for disaster, but I am so ecstatic to report that the holiday meal was a huge success!
Everyone loved the food, even though no one at the table was vegan or even vegetarian. We had mashed potatoes, stuffing, creamed corn, and the lasagna, and carrots recipes that I posted in my last blog. It was delicious. And not just the OK kind of dinner that you may make on a regular Thursday night. No, it was actually a delicious holiday meal. Usually when we think about eating during the holidays, we don't necessarily want it to be healthy. It's the one time we may let ourselves splurge from our daily ways of eating, to enjoy a meal that comforts us, reminds us of happy times as a kid, and leaves us feeling full and satisfied.
Even to my surprise, this meal checked all of those boxes. It had all of the flavors and comforts of holiday food, and while it may have still had some things like sugar and other rich ingredients that we may not eat on a regular basis, it was completely animal free. I surprised myself seeing that I could actually continue to eat the way I want to during the holidays and other special occasions. The fact that my family enjoyed it just as much was so rewarding and exciting to see. Everyone at the table enjoyed the food, went back for seconds, and left with a full belly.
It showed my family, that plant based eating isn't boring, tasteless, or unsatisfying. It's anything but those things. It can actually be more exciting with all of the fun ingredients you get to use, it is packed with flavor with ingredients like nutritional yeast, garlic, and truffles, and it filled up our bellies and made us feel completely satisfied. I hate to toot my own horn, but in this instance I am just going to do one small "toot".
The thing is, you can do this too. If you eat a certain way by choice or because of health reasons, there is no reason why you have to stop during the holidays. It can actually be fun to take your favorite recipes and adapt them to your eating style. You don't have to sacrifice your wants and needs to satisfy others food tastes. What I found out is that you can make (in my instance) plant based eating (insert your type of eating here) enjoyable for your family and friends that you share your special occasions with. Whether you are trying to cut back on sugar, stay away from dairy, or eat less meat, you can make this work at holidays and special occasions.
I am so excited and encouraged to try new recipes for Christmas. The fun now, is trying new things, and tweaking things that could be better. I love that I can continue to respect my body and my health during the holidays without having to sacrifice any of the love and comfort of food that makes the holidays what they are. You can too! If you are trying to stay on your journey of health, don't stop during the holidays. Get creative and figure out how you can make recipes that everyone will love, while still sticking to your health plan. The best part is when you come out on top and realize, you CAN do this. So why not give it a try at your next party or holiday meal?
Check out a few other recipes you may be able to incorporate! If you missed my recipes from my last blog, check them out here.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes and Savory Mushroom Gravy
Interested in learning more about plant based eating, or need help finding the tools to get you started on your health journey? Contact Lindsay, IIN Nutrition Health Coach, to schedule your complimentary health consultation.