How to Survive Thanksgiving as a Vegetarian

I’ve been a vegetarian for around four years now. After that amount of time, it becomes second nature; usually, I don't even have to think about it. The only time it seems to become an issue is in situations like Thanksgiving. From ignorant comments from family members, to navigating the turkey obsession, here's how to survive Thanksgiving as a vegetarian.

My number one tip is to talk to whoever is cooking the food about using vegetable substitutes. Vegetable broth is your best friend. Most dishes can be very easily substituted with vegetable alternatives without compromising any taste for all the meat eaters. Most Thanksgiving dishes can be very easily made vegetarian, a lot of them are already. It’s also a time to get creative, if whoever is in charge of cooking will let you in the kitchen, it can be a fun time to try out some new recipes. Thanksgiving is also a time to enjoy your parents expensive wine habit. 

I’ve never been a fan of turkey, but Thanksgiving is the one time of year that everyone seems hell bent on pretending they like it. You're going to have to deal with a lot of aunties waving slices of turkey in front of your face and asking if “you want just a little nibble?” or commenting, “You're too skinny, if you ate a little meat you might get some on your bones”. Take a deep breath, and another sip of wine, and remind yourself that they don't mean anything by it. Family is family, and once you get through Thanksgiving, you won't have to see them for another year. 

This also seems to be the time of year everyone forgets that food other than turkey exists. You’ll be met with a lot of “but what are you going to eat?!?!” The best response I’ve found to this question is just to point at the table full of food... that isn't meat. And, open another bottle of wine. 

Grandparents. They can be a lot. There are a lot of things they don't understand about the world today. One of the things they don't understand the most is how you don't eat meat. You're going to have to deal with complaints about “how hard Nana worked on the turkey” and that “you'd like it if you just tried it”. Again, remind yourself they're from another generation, and appreciate them for who they are. And, hey, have another glass of wine because you deserve it. 

Holidays can be tough. Family can be tough. But remind yourself that this is meant to be a time to give thanks. You love your family, even if they drive you crazy. You also love wine.