Hey, #BFitNation! It’s officially my favorite time of the year: the Holiday Season! Something about the weather, seeing all of my family, and the food puts a big ol’ jolly smile on my face. However, the holidays can be a rather difficult time to eat healthily; especially as a vegan or vegetarian.
So, let’s talk about holidays. It may seem like the entire holiday meal revolves around a turkey (or another meat), but that is not necessarily entirely true. There are so many other delicious options to try if you are sporting a vegetarian or vegan diet.
At large family holiday gatherings, I typically find myself going directly towards what I consider to be one of the most heavenly creations the world has to offer: the dinner rolls. If I could, I would live on bread. The only problem with that is the fact that eating too many carbohydrates (which bread, of course, has plenty of) can lead to an unbalanced, unhealthy diet. Luckily there is a lot more at Holiday dinner than just bread.
One of my personally favorite safe vegetarian or vegan item that can be typically found on a holiday dinner/lunch menu are sweet potatoes! Not only are they delicious, but sweet potatoes also contain loads of fiber, potassium, and over 400% of your daily need of Vitamin A.
However, there are two specific things to keep an eye out for when sweet potatoes: 1. Typically, there is a lot of butter in everything this time of year, so you may want to make sure to try and not put extra on top of your serving. Plus, if you are vegan, definitely make sure to that the dishes were made with a butter substitute, or something of that sort. 2. Marshmallows. Those fluffy little balls of deliciousness were very possibly the most difficult thing for me to give up when I went vegetarian. A lot of the time, marshmallows will be placed on top of sweet potatoes to add the delightful sweet flavoring, but they contain gelatin, which actually contains ground up horse (or sometimes cow) hooves. So, you could either specially request for marshmallow-less sweet potatoes,or simply work your way around them when serving yourself. It may sound a little unconventional, but sometimes you have to make due in order to get your paws on some delicious food!
Even though holiday meals revolve primarily around side dishes for me, dessert is a whole other story. The dessert course is where we vegetarians can go to town! Sadly, vegans will still have to look out for desserts prepared with milk, or any other animal-produced products. There are almost always various different dessert options, but let’s get to the real question here: sweet potato or pumpkin pie?! They look pretty much exactly the same, and taste very similar as well.
So, what is the big difference? Well, while they look so similar, pumpkins tend to carry less calories than sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes also have more protein calcium, fiber, magnesium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin A, while pumpkins are a lot lighter in the sense of carbs and sugars. Overall, while pumpkin pie is the lighter, lower calorie and sugar option, sweet potato pie is actually much more nutritional for you, although both choices are surprisingly healthy.
All in all, the holiday season is a fantastic time to experiment with vegetarianism or veganism, but also just with food in general. So, eat up, and have a happy holiday!
And since so much of this blog has basically revolved around sweet potatoes, here is a link to some great recipes to try – RECIPES
Written by: Ella Mowyer