The ultimate survival guide to Thanksgiving as a vegetarian

Written By Amara Phillips, Copy Editor

The struggle is almost ultimately real when you have food restrictions during the holidays. I am grateful that my family doesn’t cook a ton of meat products during Thanksgiving as the only meat my family serves during Thanksgiving dinner is turkey. But don’t get me wrong, it can still be difficult to eat dinner during the holidays because meat is usually the main dish.

Step number one for being vegetarian during Thanksgiving dinner is to fill up on carbs. Carbs include homemade mashed potatoes, obviously, and crescent rolls. Who doesn’t love a nice, warm, flaky, buttery crescent roll?

Step number two in the vegetarian holiday survival guide is to fill up on veggies. I personally go for the creamed corn and then the broccoli. If I have a sweet tooth during dinner, which I usually do since I am a sugar addict, I go for the yams. My mom is usually in charge of the yams and she covers them with brown sugar, butter and marshmallows and places them in the oven until the marshmallows melt into the dish.

Step number three, go for the fruit. My family doesn’t serve much fruit during the holidays but we always have cranberry sauce which I love. I usually pile a lot of cranberry sauce on my dinner plate. It’s surprising that I like cranberry sauce so much considering I hate cranberries.

Step number four, diets don’t exist around the holidays, so stop counting calories and eat some dessert. When I first became a vegetarian, I was extremely unhealthy and used to fill up on sweets and junk food. I know, how gross. As a result of living off of ice cream and potato chips I have built quite a sugar tolerance. If you are vegetarian and your family makes mostly meat during Thanksgiving dinner, then chances are, you will definitely have room for dessert. I usually go for the pumpkin pie and maybe a tiny slice of homemade apple pie if I am feeling adventurous.

On a serious note, if you happen to be vegetarian and your family does not serve food to accommodate your dietary needs, I am extremely sorry. I know what it is like to celebrate a holiday on an almost empty stomach due to the food circumstances. It can be difficult to eat a holiday dinner when your family doesn’t understand your moral and ethical lifestyle choice and the main course is a meat dish. Every family creates their own special holiday food and I am thankful my mom is willing to cook certain dishes specifically for me so I don’t feel left out.  I think holiday dinners are a way for families to come together, and eating with one another has become a bonding experience over the years.

If you are a vegetarian and this is your first Thanksgiving dinner, I just want you to know that you will discover some food tips and tricks along your journey. I also hope that there is some delicious meatless food that is available for your enjoyment, and that your family doesn’t give you a hard time for being vegetarian and if they do, please don’t become discouraged. Stick to your beliefs and have a happy holiday!