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How to Survive Thanksgiving as a Vegetarian

Surprise! I’m a vegetarian!

And a new one at that. I’m not sure of the exact date, because I slowly transitioned into the lifestyle starting back in August, but I do know that I’m very nervous about Thanksgiving approaching.

Thanksgiving is all about turkey and ham, and I those are not things I want to include in my diet anymore. Because I no longer eat the two main staples of the holiday, I’m worried the holiday won’t go over very well. Think leaving dissatisfied food-wise and exhausted from explaining my food choices.

Related: Why I Went Vegetarian (+ Commonly Asked Questions)

I knew I couldn’t be the only vegetarian dreading the approach of the holiday (I’m never been a big fan of the holiday anyways), so I came up with a few tips on how to keep things going smoothly and making sure I get enough to eat.

How to Survive Thanksgiving as a vegetarian: and deal with touchy meat-loving family members | College with Caitlyn

Be patient with those who ask why you’re avoiding meat

No one wants to cause a scene during Thanksgiving, so be patient and understanding with the family members who are interested in your food choices.

I never thought I could be a vegetarian, so I’m sure I would have teased someone before I made the transition to the diet myself. People are always curious about things they don’t understand, so explain it to them.

If someone gets upset that you won’t eat the turkey they spent so long cooking, then that’s their problem. Don’t feel obligated to eat some just because you don’t want to upset anybody. The only person who should control what goes into your body is you.

That being said:

Don’t get down on yourself if you do eat meat

But only if you do so willingly, and not with someone shoving it on your plate.

I don’t know about you, but ham was always my favorite meat. One of the reasons I’m so nervous about the big day is because I’m worried I’m going to cave and sneak a bite or two.

But really what’s wrong with that? I’m new to the lifestyle, and it’ll be my first time surrounded by meat all day, so I don’t see the point of stressing about having some meat.

If you do decide to eat some ham or turkey, just tell yourself that now you have all your meat cravings out of your system.

Don’t feel ashamed to bring your own meat replacement

I won’t be doing this this year, but I have done this is different situations in years past.

Growing up, I never liked hot dogs or hamburgers, so going to cookouts was painful for me. Eventually I learned to bring chicken or a turkey burger for myself, and soon everyone knew to always have turkey burgers on hand for me. They weren’t annoyed when I brought something to replace hot dogs or hamburgers, so why should they be annoyed if I brought something to replace meat?

The one thing with this is you shouldn’t expect your host to cook your meat replacement for you, unless they offer. Maybe even bring extra, just in case you have some family members who want to try something new!

Have no worries about getting enough to eat

Almost all Thanksgiving side-dishes and all desserts are vegetarians friendly. Rolls and mashed potatoes anyone?

I’m drooling already.

If you really are worried about getting enough to eat, here’s a list of common Thanksgivings foods that are vegetarian: green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls, salad, cranberry sauce, corn, stuffing (some people do put meat in their’s though, so be sure to double check!), pumpkin pie, pumpkin roll and all the other desserts!

Are you a vegetarian? If, so how do you handle Thanksgiving? If not, what’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Let me know in the comments below!

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  • My Sprinkle of Prep

    My parents the last couple years have been so gracious to work with me when it comes to big family meals like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. The last two years we have purchased a Tofurkey from Trader Joes and have loved it, it comes with vegan stuffing and it’s own gravy. The hardest part about thanksgiving is trying to rationalize it with your extended family. They don’t understand that I would get sick from eating the turkey gravy, the stuffing from inside the turkey and when they share spoons that has touched meat. I have become more immune to the processed meats and I can even tell now when I’m out that my food was cooked on the same grill that they cooked meal. Just the average struggles of being a vegetarian on a holiday.
    megan // mysprinkleofprep.wordpress.com

    • Last year was my first holiday being a vegetarian, so I didn’t prepare much. This year though, I think I’m going to go out and buy some tofurkey because I’ve been bringing veggie burgers to all my family events recently anyway. No one really questions me now! (Thanks goodness.)

      xo
      Caitlyn