Holidays can be a hard time for those of us who prefer to eat food that makes us feel great,rather than anything that’s not moving and may taste good. Unless you are very lucky you are probably the only one (or only family) in your extended family to eat this way. And while this can be a time to abandon your daily diet and enjoy the holiday, I find that I feel so bad physically if I do this that it is not a viable option for me. Others have observed the same type of reaction.
So, what can help ease the strain in these situations? If at all possible bringing a dish or several to contribute at family functions can be a good way to show people that you eat good food too, while at the same time ensuring something for you to eat. And this is not the time for your favorite main dish consisting of tofu chunks (I have several of these actually), because everyone will be more convinced than ever that your diet is just weird and not for them, etc.
One of the easiest and best contributions to bring is a really large green salad, it should be familiar to everyone, and the reason it needs to be large is just in case that becomes most of your meal. Also, if you eat salad dressing, plan on bringing your own.
Whole grain rolls/breads are also generally welcome and a fairly comfortable food for everyone.
Another option is fresh fruit, possibly in a salad, etc..
Basically things that will seem normal to the people at the party. If you have an understanding group/family who are willing to try new things, then branching out into your favorite but less familiar dishes becomes a real possibility.
For me, holidays mean yummy desserts. My mom makes her rolls with whole wheat and her mashed potatoes with soymilk, plus she always has plenty of vegetables and fruit around. Just asking her not to butter the whole dish of vegetables ensures that I have plenty to eat for the main course. However, when it comes to dessert, I am on my own. Last year I tried a new apple pie recipe (apple pie is my favorite instead of pumpkin) the day before I traveled to join the family. I found out it didn’t work when I ate a piece on Thanksgiving Day. That’s not unusual, since about half of the new recipes I try don’t work out for one reason or another. I ended up eating more unhealthy food than I planned that holiday and I suffered because of it. I’ve learned not to try new recipes during the holidays. The stakes are too high if it doesn’t work out. This year I am sticking with tried and true recipes. Instead of apple pie, I’m making my favorite apple-cranberry crisp recipe from The Peaceful Palate by Jennifer Raymond. I bought fresh cranberries for the occasion. I’ve also made cookies and soup to freeze for “fast food” options. I’ve carefully planned my menus for the week knowing I won’t want to cook time consuming, elaborate meals once the family has gathered. I’d rather spend my time visiting and playing games with family members. I know where the closest health food store is so I can buy soy or coconut ice cream and any other healthier convenience food I might want. I usually have desserts once a month not three in one week, but during the holidays I go all out because I don’t want to feel deprived when I see my family eating pie, ice cream and cookies. When I feel deprived, I convey the message to my family that I’m not satisfied with the way I eat and I’m tempted to eat things that leave me feeling nauseous and tired. That’s not how you enjoy the holidays.