My primary mission in creating Jewish Food Hero is to help all of us create a new and healthy food future for the Jewish people, one that is connected to our most beautiful traditions while being grounded in the present.
One of the things I know (from experience!) is that as a holiday begins to get closer on the calendar, you start thinking about your plans and the meal.
You begin getting organized and thinking about the kind of experience you want to have for this particular holiday.
Since you’re already thinking about the upcoming holidays, why not include plant-based food in those pre-planning thoughts?
What I’ve heard from many people in the Jewish Food Hero community is that you would love to be able to serve healthier food for your holiday menus, but you don’t feel empowered to do so because you feel beholden to traditional recipes or unsure of how to work with plant-based food ingredients or menus.
You’re not alone.
The food we put into our bodies and feed our families is both deeply personal and often undervalued.
Today I’m sharing some common roadblocks and misconceptions about eating plant-based food for the holidays, and offering suggestions for moving forward in a way that feels good for your current situation.
Let’s start with a definition. Plant-based eating is centered on minimally processed foods, which include vegetables, fruits, tubers, legumes, and whole grains (and excludes meat, dairy, eggs, and highly-processed foods).
The 5 most common obstacles to a plant-centered holiday meal:
“I have to follow tradition.”
Our traditions are so grounding and I’m grateful to how they shape our holiday experiences. And I also find that there is room for more personalization with menus than you may realize. Try swapping one unhealthy ingredients for a plant-based food, or one dish at the table for a plant-based one.
“It adds to my work during an already busy time.”
Actually, plant-based recipes and meals can be extremely simple, even more so than meat-based dishes. Can you think of one side dish for an upcoming holiday that you don’t look forward to making or often requires more time than the others? I bet that you can swap out a few ingredients to make it healthy, and simplify both the number of ingredients and labor involved.
“Unless I can make the ENTIRE meal plant-based/vegan/healthy, there’s no point.”
Having a plant-centered table for the holidays does not have to be an all-or-nothing approach. Rather, it’s easy to start experimenting in small ways that feel doable and exciting to you, like swapping out a single ingredient in your favorite dish or having one meal each day be plant based. Increasing health at your holiday table can be done one small ingredient or one small dish, at a time.
“My kids/husband/mother-in-law won’t like the food.”
Do you know this for sure, or is this simply your perception? I transitioned my own young daughter and meat-loving husband into eating mostly plant-based food, and they enjoy the taste of real food and ingredients in a whole new way now. Many of us are afraid or unsure about what’s not familiar to us. Start adding plant-based dishes into your meals before the holidays to smooth the transition.
“I don’t know where to start.”
I’ve got you covered for that. You can get my free guide, 18 Effortless Ways to Eat Less Meat and Dairy when you click on the button below. This guide offers simple ideas for incorporating more plant-based food into your meals.
There’s also another resource coming for you: Jewish Food Hero Cookbook: 50 Simple Plant-Based Recipes for Your Holiday Meals will be released on Wednesday, March 30th. If you’d like to be notified when it goes on sale (and get an insider discount), click on the button below.
Your takeaway for plant-centered holiday meals:
Go at your pace, and follow what feels interesting or inspiring. The more you put on the table that’s healthy, the less room there is for food that isn’t.