5 Tips for Welcoming Herbivores to the Holiday Feast

Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Alan Cleaver via Compfight cc

From vegetarians to vegans and pescatarians to gluten allergies, throwing a holiday feast can be quite challenging. If you are planning to host a dinner party this holiday season, rest assured, entertaining guests with multiple food sensitivities does not mean you need to toss out traditional or favorite Holiday foods. With a few modifications, many foods can be easily modified.  What should you do when welcoming herbivores to your holiday feast? We’re dishing out 5 tips you need to do and know before you start cooking this holiday season.

1. Confirm Your Guests’ Dietary Restrictions – First things first, before you start purchasing any ingredients find our what type of food preferences your guests have and if they have any allergies. Keep in mind that not everyone has the same food preferences. Some people will eat dairy but not eggs and vice versa. Knowing your guests’ food styles won’t just help you plan out what dishes you can serve, but it will ensure there is something at the table for everyone.

2. Always Serve A Main Vegetarian Dish – If you pass on confirming your guests’ dietary preferences, steer on the safe side by preparing a main vegetarian dish. This way, anyone who passes up the turkey or other main meat dish will still have something just as delicious and satiating as the latter. For large crowds, a dish like vegetarian lasagna can be appetizing for both non-meat and meat eaters alike.

3.  Make Your Side Dishes Veggie-Friendly – Make sure there are side dishes that everyone can enjoy. While you don’t have to dish out a whole chicken, turkey fish or tofurkey to meet all of your guests’ dietary preferences, side dishes are where you can make something suitable for everyone’s palates and preferences. To do this, keep an open mind by serving dishes other than a simple salad. Some side dishes can include sliced fresh fruits, cheeses, crackers, bruschetta, Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, potato salad, roasted cauliflower, chickpeas, lentils, latkes, corn on the cob, cornbread, stuffed mushrooms, quinoa salad, garlicky kale or spinach.

4. Encourage Your Guests to Bring a Dish – After you letting your guests know in advance that you will be preparing vegetarian/vegan dishes, offer to let them bring a couple of dishes that they enjoy too. If you feel like you’re scrambling to find enough vegetarian/vegan dishes, allow your guests to bring dishes to share with everyone.

5. Prepare Two Dessert Options – When dishing out dessert, consider eggs and dairy products. If possible, it’s best to prepare one non-dairy dessert option. If you plan to make the dessert yourself, there are a ton of substitutions on the market that add flavor and moisture to your baked goods. For egg substitutes, you can try applesauce, chia seeds in gel form, or EnerG Egg Replacer, which can be found at a health foods store or Whole Foods Market. To substitute cow’s milk, you can use soy, almond or hemp milk and vegetable margarine in many baked goods. For those who are new to creating sweet concoctions without dairy and eggs, know that it is possible to serve a scrumptious vegan dessert!


Have you ever hosted a vegetarian or vegan dinner? What tips would you give to new hosts?

Happy and Healthy Diabetes Friendly Holiday Meals with Dessert!

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Happy and Healthy Diabetes Friendly Holiday Meals with Dessert!
By: Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team


Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes? We understand that adjusting to a lifestyle with diabetes can be overwhelming and frightening, especially when diagnosed near the holidays. It is for this very reason we are sharing my latest cookbook with you, The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet Cookbook. In concert with the editors of Prevention magazine, we set out to create a cookbook that gives families the tools they need to manage or reverse insulin resistance. By following the START approach, you learn to achieve and maintain a 5-10% weight loss all while continuing to eat the foods you love! This book contains an introduction to all things relating to diabetes and allows you to eat real sugar. No artificial sugar!! There are 200 recipes, plus a great deal of tips and tricks to maintain your blood sugar levels. Think cinnamon, monounsaturated fats and fiber.


As we say in the book: “a sweet life is possible.” It is in honor of our book that we wanted to share these 6 “Diabetes Friendly” holiday meal ideas (using recipes from the book DCFD) that are about 60 grams of carbohydrate or less to tantalize your taste buds and help to guide you to a successful self care dinner celebration. You can get started with a recipe straight from the pages of our book:


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So as you can see, you can learn to eat real food, even warm comforting food that doesn’t spike your blood sugar. Happy and healthy holidays!! In honor of the spirit, we are giving away one free copy of the Diabetes Comfort Food Diet Cookbook.

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Do you want a new favorite recipe? Click here to enter to win a copy!