• Lizzie Shutt

Grati-Food: Plant-based Thanksgiving Ideas!

Eating together with friends or family tends to be the centerpiece of holiday celebrations. Preparing, cooking, and sharing dishes tend to take up most of our time before and during these celebrations. While still enjoying the festivities, I encourage you to be mindful of the types of food that are served and the conversations about food that go around. The idea that comes to mind is “I’m going to stuff myself until I can’t move”, but in reality this holiday is not about stuffing your face. Mindfully enjoy the food and good company. If you celebrate early bring to-go containers to take food home and enjoy it later rather than overeating and feeling sick!

Food is a very touchy subject for people, especially in a society that markets a million different diets. Eating becomes personal and many judgmental beliefs around food develop as you come to see the world more and learn about these various diets. These beliefs are created by observing others, listening to the media’s portrayal of various diets/foods, and learning from our own experiences.

At times, we (myself included) may judge another’s food choice— either out loud or in our heads— which impacts our own and others’ holiday experiences. Not eating any animal products myself, I can very much relate to both sides of this situation. On one side, we may feel judged for not eating what everyone else is and being “different.” On the other, we may feel grossed out “judging” other people’s food. However from my experiences, I have developed a very compassionate heart and learned to accept that everyone is on his or her own journey. When I see people eating meat I don’t think badly about them because just two years ago I was too so it’s not fair to think that I’m above others. With this in mind, I encourage you to stay open and understanding about other’s food choices and bring this sense of compassion to other areas of your life... shall I say dealing with a crazy family over the holidays!

At the dinner table this holiday season you could be the person to kick-start a conversation around food. Call it “Grati-Food!” This could look differently for everyone, but here are a few ideas to get creative with.

Invite everyone at the table to:

  • State their favorite dish of the day and uses their senses to explain why.

  • Say “I am grateful for (one-two words).” Then everyone else cheers to the one-two word phrases. EX: I am grateful for family support. Everyone together: Family Support! *holding up cup* Then after everyone is through people clink cups and enjoy!

  • Create place setting for each person. Fold a piece of construction paper in half and write their name. Place them around the table along with writing utensils. Invite everyone to write on the inside of the paper something you appreciate or admire about that person. Take about 20 seconds at each place setting then tell everyone to move to the left until you come back to your spot!

This past Thursday, I put together a vegan “Friendsgiving” with my roommates and our boyfriends. Everyone helped out cooking, cleaning, and enjoying the wonderful food and happy atmosphere we all created. To express our gratitude we all shared what in life we are grateful for. Cooking and eating together is a powerful time to bring people together and connect over a shared experience. Go into the holiday season with a positive mindset that looks forward to all the activities rather than making it stressful and a burden.

Below I linked some of the plant-based recipes we made and more to explore further!

Easy Mashed Potatoes

Fall-Inspired Spinach & Kale Salad

Asparagus with Creamy Sweet Potato Sauce

Roasted Whole Cauliflower (I changed the spices)

Guilt Free Mac N’ Chee

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie

Baked Cinnamon Apple Crisp

For more plant-based Thanksgiving Recipes check out Minimalist Baker’s: Recipe Round Up

"Live Dirty, Eat Clean & Green",

-Lizzie Shutt


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