As Thanksgiving grows near, vegan and vegetarian students are looking for alternatives to common foods to eat during the holiday. This holiday is particularly tricky because most dishes contain meat and dairy. Many family members will help out by making substitutions for the traditional holiday fare.

The Thanksgiving meal highlights some of the abuses animals face, justifying a person’s decision to go meat and dairy free. When one considers that millions of turkeys are bred and murdered for the purpose of keeping up a tradition, it makes the decision to be a vegan or vegetarian seem like a wise one. 

  Popular substitutions for this holiday include tofu instead of turkey because it can be seasoned similarly and has loads of protein. Mashed potatoes can be cooked with dairy alternatives, such as ghee. Cranberry sauce and green beans are Thanksgiving staples that are also vegan-friendly. Dessert can consist of dairy-free ice cream and a pie made without eggs and other dairy products. 

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Many vegetarians make and bring their own food for holiday meals. Junior Elizabeth Arent, who has been a vegetarian for two years, brings her own food to her family dinner. Arent “eats everything but turkey, and I  usually bring my own corn and biscuits.” This is a great way to have a meat free holiday, but still join in on the celebrations. 

Senior Maycee Campano also cooks her own Thanksgiving food. She makes “a vegan stuffing with gluten free bread, vegetable based stock, and no meat elements.” She also swears by  soy sauce, adding it to the food to give it a great taste. Little tricks like these can elevate dishes and make holiday food even more delicious.

Many non-meat eaters have supportive family members who help them out during the holidays. Senior Sabrina Ruban’s “grandma makes [her] pasta instead of turkey.” When family members help out by cooking alternatives, it makes the holidays less stressful and more welcoming for everyone. 

Being a vegetarian or vegan during the holidays may be difficult, but it isn’t an impossible task to find alternatives to eating meat, dairy, and other animal byproducts. Having family members who are willing to take these special accommodations into consideration, goes a long way to making the meal enjoyable.