If you’re plant-based, gluten-free, or have any sort of allergy, or you simply just want to eat different items than what your family offers, this is for you. Navigating the holidays when you have specific dietary requirements – but there’s a few ways that can make this easier!

As the Holidays approach, it’s time to start thinking about making those family plans, you know how they go – Who will be hosting, what the menu will be, and who needs to bring what. As exciting as the Holidays can be, there can be a lot of tension around this time. To keep it light and airy around the holidays, especially when it comes to being on a different diet than your family, here are 4 ways you can navigate around the table.

Be The Host –

If you can, offer to be the host! When you are the host, you have a bit more control over what the menu will be, and who needs to bring what. Being the host allows you to either cook an allergy-friendly/diet-preferred dish for your family or to make a few varieties of dishes that allow options for everyone. Sometimes we can feel guilty for not eating the food someone has prepared for us or passing up on someone’s proud and well-known dish. When you are the host, you aren’t expected to try everything from everyone, as you are when you are a guest. If your family has already written in stone the menu and hosting plans, offer to help the host to bring a few dishes that you too can enjoy. Most may already know about your diet and have an idea in mind for you. Keep that clear communication open, talk to the host and see how you can work out a plan. Those who love you won’t mind!

Make Family Favorites With A Twist –

Not everyone will have an open mind to trying out some new dishes, and that’s okay. But, if you really want to please the crowd, try taking those family traditional dishes, and making them with your own twist! For example, you can make a very versatile option like these Vegan Cheesy Crunchy Tomato Tarts. You can make a large batch of the base, and have a few filling options for everyone to choose from, such as a sweet or savory option. Which consists of using Pure Flavor® Long English Cucumber chopped into slices, paired with Pure Flavor® Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Tomatoes, green onions, basil, and some sea salt. They’re using kitchen staples that everyone loves, paired with a cashew cream cheese that you can convince your family that it is made with real cheese! Especially when you make a dish with bite-sized options, there are no excuses to just try a bite, right?

Don’t Arrive Hungry –

We all have been guilty of it. We know we will be eating lots of food at the family gatherings, so we will not eat until then, so we have “saved room” when in reality that’s not how it works. You’ll end up getting fuller faster if you show up extremely hungry, and your mood may not be as cheery to see everyone. If you don’t know how many plant-based/allergy-friendly options will be at your gathering, ensure you eat a high protein and fiber-filled meal before to help keep you satisfied. You can even pack a little container full of Pure Flavor® Long English Cucumber chopped into slices, paired with Pure Flavor® Cloud 9® Bite-Sized Tomatoes. Better yet, make up a large platter and bring it with you to snack on and share with loved ones throughout the evening.

Don’t Feel Bad For Saying No Thank You –

While the food at a family gathering plays a big role, at the end of the day we all are to remember it’s about the family and company that gathers around. The special savory and sweet traditional dishes are just the extra cherry on top. Try not to put such an emphasis on the food or worry about what you’re eating. We can miss out on the most important and magical parts of the day when we are so consumed with pleasing everyone.

The holidays are meant to be surrounded by the ones we love, and again the food is just an extra delicious, and fun addition.

~ Hope