The Perpetual Holiday Dilemma: What to Eat?

Ah, the holidays! Time for meals with friends and family, parties where food and drink are served, snacks and treats brought to the office. Yum!

Food? My favorite subject!
Food? My favorite subject!

But some of us are being more conscientious about how we eat. Maybe you’re “that one” at work or in the family that is the picky eater.

While you are a member of a significant portion of the population (approximately 16 million in the US are vegetarian and half of those are vegan), you still may well be the only one at the party that isn’t drooling over the latest bacon-wrapped sensation. And even those who eat meat may still only do so when the meat is from a humane source.

So, what to do?

Here are a few tips that I use. Feel free to add your own in the comments section!

For potlucks, I bring a filling dish that I will enjoy. Last week we had a breakfast, and I cooked eggs that I bought, so I knew where they came from. Today we’re having a potluck Thanksgiving lunch, and I’m bringing green beans. Sure, they’ll look plain beside all the yummy casseroles and desserts, but there will be something I know I will want to eat.

Dinner party? Talk to the host ahead of time.  Explain what your eating habits are like. Offer to bring a dish or your own food if need be. But don’t do like I have in the past and decline the offer. You’re being invited because your presence is desired. Honor that, and go.

Mix and mingle where snacks are served? Forego the food. We’ve been told for years that the way to avoid packing on extra pounds over the holidays is to eat before you go to these events. It’s still good advice for those of us who want to eat healthier. And find the veggie tray. Practically every party has one. Yum!

Also, don 't be so hard on yourself. Temptations abound, and you're only human.
Also, don ‘t be so hard on yourself. Temptations abound, and you’re only human.

Ask yourself what you can live with. In addition to a more animal-friendly diet, I am also choosing a low-sugar diet today for my health. And yet, holiday treats are everywhere: commercials, magazine covers, at work. ACK! My mantra is just for today, I want to be healthier more than I want to eat that treat. Doesn’t mean I don’t want the treat. Just means I want something else far more.

Finally, my number one tip is to always be gracious.  Unless you were one of those that came out of the womb with a raised awareness of the plight of animals, you can recall a time when eating animals was just a thing people did. Remember that others are not where you’re at. And while it might be tempting to use the opportunity to jump on that soap box of yours, the holidays is not the time to do it.

Of course, if they ask…….. LOL

Enjoy your celebrations, whatever they may be!


25 thoughts on “The Perpetual Holiday Dilemma: What to Eat?

  1. This is brilliant. Mommy says that she always has a talk to her butt – nope quit laughing not daddy. Snorts but her real butt. Butt always asks her is the calories really worth it for the time she is going to have to be on the treadmill. Sigh – Butt wins most of the time – Oinks! XOXO – Bacon

      1. Gulps. Nope. Then she might get ideas – snorts. I already have to deal with daddy on this. He measures my butt by how many biscuits he thinks it will make. Can you believe that?! So abused here… snort. XOXO – Bacon

  2. Mummy always tries to eat healthily when she’s out and about. It helps that she’s furry shy so doesn’t like eating in front of people and therefore doesn’t eat much or put on too much weight over the holidays. Whee don’t have that issue with being shy! But definitely some great tips for dinner parties there!


  3. I started my diet 8 years ago, to combat Type II Diabetes. Originally, it was all protein and unsaturated fats. No carbs, no starches and no sugars. Since I have been free of the disease, and without medication, for over 5 years now, I have mellowed it somewhat. I can eat the occasional potato, and even some carefully selected, non-processed sugars. And exercise is my medicine. That’s critically important. We need to eat the right things, in the right amounts, and at the right times – but we need to move.

    The biggest challenge however, was neither eating nor exercising. The biggest challenge was not turning into that guy. The guy who tells his friends, “That pizza’s gonna kill you.” The guy who tells his family, “I don’t eat birthday cake.” Our dietary choices are personal, and food Christian evangelists tend to find themselves eating alone.

    There are a plethora of tricks one can use. I would often bring a protein bar from home, and eat it in the car before I arrived at the party. Then you can mix and mingle, and just not eat the food. “No thank you, I’m not that hungry,” sounds a lot friendlier, than “You murdered a pig for that sandwich.”

    Some eat to regain health. Some eat to save animals. But most of us eat to socialize. As you wisely pointed out above, you were invited because your friends and family wanted you there. Honor that. I couldn’t have said it better. Part of honoring that, involves keeping what’s personal, personal.

  4. It’s both a blessing and a curse to live in a town where people are super conscious about food.

    It’s a blessing to have a strong farming community with lots of organic food and humanely raised meat (for people who choose to eat it).

    It’s a nuisance when people become precious instead of gracious about their choices. So I love your number one tip.

    I seek out really special vegetarian and vegan treats for the holidays. I like to show people you don’t need to eat animal products to have a good time. My chocolate fudge pie (made with tofu) always surprises people.

      1. Here’s a link to the recipe:

        I substitute kirsch or raspberry liqueur since I don’t care for coffee. And the recipe isn’t exactly moo-less since it contains butter in the crust. I haven’t figured out a better substitution so I buy a pre-made chocolate crust at the store. It’s not ideal. But it is free of animal products.

        I’ve also substituted tofu for the egg in my favorite banana bread recipe. It’s wonderful. I had no idea tofu could serve the same rising function as egg.

  5. The older my mom gets, the much healthier she wants to be! These are wonderful tips for this time of year! 🙂
    Happy holiday Rumpy, Jen, and gangs!

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