There’s something about this time of year that brings out the best and the worst in me.
On the one hand, it’s almost Christmas! And who doesn’t love sitting by the tree surrounded by the people you love?
On the other hand…there’s also overcrowded shopping centers, hectic travel, and endless temptations to eat this holiday treat and skip that bitter-cold run.
But this year, I’m taking control of the holidays. I’m leaving my internal Grinch out in the snow and leaning into the season with jingle bells and all.
To help us all get into this holly jolly spirit, I’ve put together a list of my favorite No Meat Athlete resources that have advice, recipes, and gift ideas to help make this holiday great.
1. Not Just Another Gift Guide
Hands down the No Meat Athlete Radio episode I look forward to most each year is the holiday extravaganza. It started back in 2015 mostly as a way for us to share our officially unofficial No Meat Athlete gift guide, but it’s turned in to much more than that. Over the years we’ve explored health and fitness goals from the past year, habits around the new year, and holiday recipes and traditions.
Plus, it’s a good excuse for me to make fun of Matt’s daily Christmas movie habit.
Listen to this year’s episode here:
Or click here to check out the show on iTunes.
2. (Mostly) Healthy Recipes Even Non-Vegans Will Love
Big holiday meals are always a source of anxiety for me. I love to cook, and I love finding vegan versions or interpretations of the meals my family cooked growing up, but there’s always the issue of all the non-vegans at the family dinner.
People love their traditions, and forcing my mother or grandmother to give up a dish they’ve been cooking every Christmas for decades isn’t something I’m interested in doing.
So I search for balance. What dishes can we easily make vegan that no one will notice? Or what can I add to the meal that will satisfy my wife and daughter without making a big deal out of the shrimp and grits my mom is cooking?
Typically I focus on the sides and appetizers, since that’s often an easy sell to the larger family and just as enjoyable for me. And that’s what I recommend if you’re new to the plant-based diet or dealing with tough family dynamics.
But this year I’m also introducing new main dishes:
- For brunch, there’s this vegan breakfast casserole from Sweet Simple Vegan, which happens to be a perfect play on the casserole I ate on Christmas morning growing up. (I actually already made this for a holiday brunch with my mom and we all loved it.)
- And for Christmas dinner I’ll be trying out this Chickpea Spinach Pie from Vegan Richa. This one is already NMA Team approved, since I know a few people cooked it on Thanksgiving.
Some of the team is also testing out a few new recipes this year:
- Matt will be whipping up vegan tortilla de patatas from Danza de Fogones (heads up, the recipe is in Spanish) and these beignets for Christmas morning.
- Andrew will make one of his favorites: Minimalist Baker’s vegan biscuits and gravy, along with some grapefruit mimosas with grapefruit juice and Stiegl’s Grapefruit Radler.
- Susan’s big meal comes on Christmas Eve, and this year she’s cooking up a batch of vegan tamales.
For more inspiration on everything from brunch to desserts and cocktails, check out some of the the team’s favorites here:
3. The Four Fs of Surviving the Holidays
And finally, I want to leave you with this:
It’s a fun little guide I put together a few years ago on how to stay fit, healthy, and happy, even during holiday party season.
So all those anxieties I mentioned in the beginning don’t come to fruition.
And with that, I wish you a happy holiday season. Full of cheer, workouts, and vegan treats.