Five Tips for a Happy and Healthy Plant-Based Thanksgiving

Contributor
Vanessa Chamberlin, certified holistic health practitioner, shares healthy tips for a plant-based Thanksgiving
Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving Tips

The Daily Meal previews our list of Nutritionist Tips for a Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving for 2015.

Five Tips for a Happy and Healthy Plant-Based Thanksgiving

Vanessa Chamberlin

This cauliflower mash dish is a healthy alternative to mashed potatoes for your Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving is such a great holiday. We take time to be with our loved ones and be thankful for our relationships, our health, and our opportunities. It’s a time to celebrate the harvest and all of the wonderful flavors and colors and textures of autumnal foods. The best part? All of the greatest fall foods are plant-based and there are plenty of ways to celebrate and incorporate them into the holiday season.

Click here for the 9 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes slideshow.

With Thanksgiving approaching, I wanted to give some of my best holiday tips so that you can feel joyous about the holiday and celebrate what Thanksgiving means to you while still doing what feels good for your body.

Read on for five tips for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.

Have fun planning a menu.

Don’t limit yourself by thinking only of traditional foods. If you’re cooking for a larger group and they’re expecting their holiday favorites, there are ways you can emulate those foods with a healthier recipe, like mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. But if your guests are adventurous, go outside the box! There are tons of amazing seasonal recipes you can make to celebrate harvest time without loading them full of meat and dairy, but you could also look to other cultural dishes to really explore the world in your menu.

Invite people who share your values.

This might be easier said than done! It can be a fun way to recharge with people who actually share your values and will appreciate every second you put into planning and cooking for them. People are often busy visiting their families, but with many people living far away from loved ones, an invitation to a fun plant-based holiday gathering can be a great thing.

Start a new tradition.

I love this! Traditions can be anything, whether it’s frisbee in the park, watching a special movie, or silly things like hiding something that everyone has to try and find. Have fun with it. If you’re not sure what to do, look up traditions of other cultures and use it as a teaching lesson for your kids.  

Spend time with your loved ones creating memories.

What may just be a silly song or movie time or a walk through a pumpkin patch today could end up being one of our most cherished memories. Remember that the holidays aren’t just about food. It’s about spending time with your loved ones, celebrating the reason you can come together, and being thankful for your blessings.  

Take time for yourself!

It’s not uncommon for us to spend so much time trying to make an enjoyable experience for our children and loved ones that we end up exhausted at the end of the day or weekend. Make sure that you have time to unwind. Get in a workout, meditate, and relax. Whether you enlist help making food or spend some time prepping for your meal in the days before, do what you need to do to keep from getting burned out and overscheduled during the holiday.

Keep in mind that your holiday can still incorporate your healthy habits. There’s no reason why post-Thanksgiving fun can’t be a walk around the block or an hour at the park. You can even pick up a football and play together! The most important thing is to take this time to recharge and take time to feel the joy of gratitude for your blessings, the things you’ve worked hard for, and the people who love you.

Here’s my favorite holiday recipe for Cauliflower Mash to get you inspired for your plant-based Thanksgiving!

Vanessa Chamberlin is a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner and Lifestyle Coach and author of The Fire-Driven Life: How to Ignite the Fire of Self-Worth, Health, and Happiness with a Plant-Based Diet. For more information, please visit, www.vanessachamberlin.com and connect with her on Twitter, @vkchamberlin.