The holidays can be a stressful and challenging time when traveling or welcoming guests into your home, especially if you have a big family and large circle of friends. Even more so, when planning your holiday meals. Not everyone is going to eat the same foods or have the same preferences. And, some are on a completely different dietary plan.
So, what do you do?
Here are a couple of ideas you can start with:
- Turn your holiday dinner into a potluck. This works great for medium to large families and/or friends. You can request each individual or each family bring their preferred dish. This way everyone brings something they enjoy to the table. Just be sure to break down the category of meals people bring by appetizers, entrée’s, and desserts for example, so that there is a variety of food for each course. It’s the perfect solution for holiday dinner success!
- Note your guest’s dinner preferences. This works fine for a family of 4 or less and even then, your guests can still bring a dish of choice. Once you know what dietary preferences or restrictions your guests have, you can start gathering up recipes and get your dinner plan underway!
Whatever the family size, there is always a way to appease everyone’s desires and it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. The holidays should not be a stressful time, they are intended to be shared with family and friends in good cheer, love, and laughter. Turn them into wonderful memories you will want to look back on and share in future holiday gatherings to come.
How do I do it being raw vegan?
As a raw, plant-based food eater, it can be challenging with those around me. Especially with the most important person in my life, my daughter, Melissa.
I’m raw vegan and she’s vegetarian with 80-85% raw. Not too bad, but we make it work. Cheese is her greatest weakness as was mine at one point and I’m not going to lie, it can sometimes be tempting as I was once a HUGE pizza lover. I used to be able to eat a whole pie all by myself! But, I have broken the chain of addiction I had to cheese and feel proud to say that I no longer crave it. However, Melissa still loves cheese and eggs on occasion. Two of which she isn’t willing to give up, at least not for now. The good thing is, it’s not all the time.
How Together We Make Our Holiday Meals (or any meal) Successful
The key is to compromise. I don’t mean compromise your values or dietary preferences, but together make it work for all parties involved by meeting each other in the middle. What I mean by that is, we add cooked food into the mix.
Although my daughter is 80-85% raw, she still eats cooked food. She will also still use some ingredients I no longer use, like sour cream; but will opt for vegan butter versus non-vegan butter. These are just some examples.
I recently spent a week in New York visiting her for Thanksgiving, and what started out being a raw vegan, vegetarian, and two meat eaters turned out to be a vegan-vegetarian party of two. My parents both got sick and couldn’t make the flight so I ended flying solo.
The first thing I did was take a trip to Whole Foods to gather up groceries for the week and our Thanksgiving dinner which consisted of:
- baked organic Brussel sprouts, organic mashed potato
- coconut oil fried plantains
- organic non-GMO corn on the cob
- sautéed garlic-shallots
- and an organic raw garden salad with a creamy hemp seed dressing
Not all raw but that was a part of my compromise. However, as I always stress, the largest portion on my plate was my raw garden salad. (all in my video at the bottom of the page)
How we roll…
For Black Friday, we took a trip to the city where we stopped at Juice Generation for lunch after getting off the train. OMG, this place was AMAZING! I had actually already stopped in on my way to my Melissa’s place from the airport and had their Extreme Green smoothie with a new friend I had met on the bus.
Yep, spreading healthy habits is what I love to do!
This time, I had the Supa Dupa Greens juice and Melissa had a delicious Aloha Acai bowl.
Both were pure yumminess. This is definitely a must stop kinda place if you’re ever in NYC. It’s the best fast food ever!
Later that evening, for dinner, Melissa wanted to share her latest pizza experience in Brooklyn with me so there we went. It was a cozy little place in Brooklyn called Juliana’s Pizzeria. Little did I know we would be waiting 40 minutes in the freezing cold to be seated! This place was apparently a major hot spot in Brooklyn.
What did I have?
I am happy to say that they had a marinara, no-cheese, vegan option with gluten-free crust so in order to compromise, we ordered a large salad and pizza pie, half cheese and half without.
We made out nicely or should I say, Melissa did! I had about 3 slices, and she had the rest. She even enjoyed the cheese-less slices!
That weekend we also made what is one of our favorite holiday breads. My apple-pumpkin harvest bread. Except, this time I made it more geared to Melissa’s preference than mine. For starters, we didn’t have flaxseed for me to make an egg replacement. This one was all for her and her friends but still used some better substitutions.
Some of the substitutes we used were…
- Coconut oil vs. vegetable oil*
- Pure sugar cane vs. white sugar*
- Brown rice flour vs. all-purpose flour
- a substitute for one egg would be 1 tbsp. of ground flaxseed to 3 tbsp. of water
*Although, any type of sugar or oil are not good for you, using it on occasion and sparingly, is not going to kill you. Anything used in abundance will do you harm or lead to health complications over time.
So, you see, compromising doesn’t have to be extreme and is most certainly doable within reason. You too can make your holiday gatherings a success by just simply noting and taking into consideration your guests dietary preferences as well as your own, for a holiday meal you can all enjoy!
Your Turn: Have a holiday tip you’d like to share? Post it in the comments below! I’m always open to new suggestions. 🙂
Love, peace, and happy holidays,