How to Survive Thanksgiving as a Vegan

How to Survive Thanksgiving as a Vegan

I’m happy to have an extended family that understands and tries to accommodate my diet preferences, but I’ll be honest to say that surviving Thanksgiving dinner could be a challenge if you are a vegan. I’ve heard stories of some people who shamed family members for eating poultry and other stories where vegans were not able to eat anything throughout the entire day. Luckily, I’ve never been in situations like that! Even though none of other people in my extended family are vegans, I always managed to have a delicious meal and have wonderful family time. I was thinking that my experience might be helpful for some of you who are celebrating vegan Thanksgiving for the first time so, in this post, I’ll be sharing tips and tricks on how to handle Thanksgiving if you follow a plant-based diet.

#1: Never Come Hungry

Regardless which event I’m attending, I always make sure to eat before I leave the house. I’m known for getting quite irritable when I’m hungry so in order to avoid such situations, I always make sure that I’m not starving while heading to the event. I know, it might sound counter-intuitive to eat before heading to a dinner party, but trust me when I’m saying that you might face a situation when there is absolutely nothing for you to eat—so you’ll either be miserable and hungry or feel a temptation to break the diet and eat whatever you could find.

#2: Bring a Snack

Another hAnger preventive strategy is to always have a snack with you. It might be a vegan protein bar or a bag of nuts—anything goes when you are in a situation when there is nothing for you to eat. It might sound excessive, but I have a backup snack in every purse as my schedule could get busy and I always want to make sure that I have an option when there is absolutely no vegan food available.

#3: Be Strategic

In most situations, finding a vegan option at the Thanksgiving dinner will not be that big of a deal if you know how to strategically plan your plate. My strategy goes as follows: I start with a salad making sure that there is no dressing or cheese on it (some salad dressings contain butter). Then, I will find a side order that will be my main course. Usually, I go for plain rice or potatoes (be careful with mashed potatoes though as most of the times this dish contains milk). To spice things up, I’ll have a few spoons of cranberry sauce (just in case, ask a person who cooked dinner if it contains butter). For dessert, I’ll go for a fruit salad or berries; if none is available I’ll drink a cup of tea with lemon and agave syrup.

#4: Don’t Be Mean

Perhaps, the most important thing about celebrating Thanksgiving as a vegan is to control your emotions toward people who are not following the same diet as you are. I know how tempting it is to share all the knowledge about saving animals and improving your health, but in my humble opinion, a family celebration is not the right place to do so. You are risking to hurt people’s feeling and just ruin the entire holiday. My rule of thumb while discussing my dietary preferences is to only answer direct questions if people ask me about something and never intrude with unsolicited vegan advice.

#5: It’s Not About Food

Finally, stop thinking about things that you feel like you are missing out since you are a vegan. Trust me, Thanksgiving dinner is not about a specific meal that you got used to during the years before you started a plant-based diet. It’s about people surrounding you. So make sure to spend meaningful time with your friends and family—because any holiday is just an excuse to catch up with the most important people in your life.

* * * * *

There you have it: my 5 tips on how to survive Thanksgiving as a vegan. I hope I didn’t hurt anyone’s feelings by expressing my opinion on how I handle non-vegan Thanksgiving dinners while being on a plant-based diet. These are just strategies that work for me and I hope these tips help you not only during the holiday season but also anytime you are going out to the restaurant throughout the year.

OUTFIT DETAILS: Amanda Uprichard Baja Dress // Jimmy Choo Heels

Amanda Uprichard Baja DressHow to Survive Thanksgiving as a VeganHow to Survive Thanksgiving as a Vegan

  • Dressed With Soul

    Your tips are really good and especially #5 speaks in your favour!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  • Lovely dress in a vibrant color! These are good tips for us all, especially number 5. Enjoy your holiday!

  • You look lovely! I imagine this holiday is hard as a vegan. Good tips.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  • You look absolutely stunning! I love this dress and those heels are gorgeous
    These are great tips and number 5 is so important to remember!
    Julia x

  • These are great tips! We do this thing in my family where everything is vegan except the turkey as many of us in the family are vegetarians/vegans. So I’m happy to be able to eat it all almost. And hey, love your dress, that color looks so gorgeous on you! Xx

  • These are amazing tips! I’ll definitely show this to my boyfriend, hehe! On a side note, your dress looks AMAZING! I really love the vibrant pink color. 🙂

    xo, Chloe //

  • Dominique

    Great tips! These are amazing for vegans. I can only imagine how hard this time of year is if you’re a vegan xx

  • Louis Dupond

    I have a vegan colleague and every time we eat together it’s delicious 🙂

    great outfit by the way 😉

  • It must be hard during the holiday period but these tips are great – definitely a good idea to take your own snacks x

  • This is such a lovely post and I agree, it can be hard at times especially when people want you to eat the food they are serving etc but you have to stay positive and let things go by without making a big deal of things.

    You look absolutely stunning – I love the dress on you and the colour is just beautiful!!

    Hope you’re well and having a wonderful week!

    Layla xx

  • I can definitely understand how it can be hard, but these tips are really helpful! Also I’m loving your outfit! The pink dress is stunning!

  • Love your tips… I’m not Vegan, but I’m picky and not looking forward to a Thanksgiving dinner that I’ll be attending! Ugh….

    With Love & Style,
    ♥ Amber

    • I feel your pain, girl! I’m a picky eater too! Even at the vegan restaurant! So yeah it will be challenging but we will survive! And have a great time! Promise!

  • I’m not a vegan but these are great tips just for everyone (for hangriness, turning down food you might not want, etc). Cute dress by the way. 🙂


  • Andrea

    LOL I’m the same way about the snack! AND eating before I go places. You can’t get the hangriness get the best of you! Thanks for sharing!

    xx Andrea

  • Dina ADina

    In love with those sandals!

  • I’m not Vegan but I really like your tips especially the last one that it’s not about the food. Actually, I find your tips applicable to anyone 🙂 Anyway, I love your look! That dress looks cute 🙂

    xx Alyssa | STYLE VANITY

  • Len Dela Peña Parent

    Looking fabulous, Katya! Love your pink dress! Awesome tips for Vegan people! Love this post!
    Stay fabulous babe!
    Have a wonderful thanksgiving!
    Much love, Len

  • First, that dress is gorgeous and I love the pop of matching pink in the platform of your shoe. Next, I’m not vegan – haven’t been strong enough to make the sacrifice yet – but I am focusing on eating more organic food after I realized the hormones in dairy were wreaking havoc on me. That makes Thanksgiving tough when you haven’t prepared the meal. Everything you want is full of crazy hormones and ingredients that aren’t good for you, but is still tempting. So I love the tip at the end that it isn’t about the food as much as the company. I’ll keep that in mind when I pass over the mashed potatoes (although whole foods has some good soy rutabaga and potato mashed potatoes right now) 😉

    xx Yasmin

  • Susan Tran

    We’ve definitely been through the shaming! I think now that it’s been a few years though, people have given up on that and let us be haha. We make lots of vegan sides, and it’s just a delicious as the non vegan ones! Plus, the best part of Thanksgiving is being around family. Not to mention, wine is vegan too :). Hope you had a wonderful one!

    Susie |

  • Your outfit in these pictures is absolutely stunning, you look beautiful. I really love your tips, especially the last two. I’m not a vegan but I hope to work towards that, but you’re right – holidays are about much more than the food! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving and that your Christmas is equally good!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety