plant based food

4 Ways to Discuss Plant-Based Eating at Holiday Gatherings



Answering questions about your dietary choices in social settings can be overwhelming. The tips below may make it easier.

The holiday season is upon us. If you’re presently preparing for joyful gatherings with family and friends, we at World Animal Protection know how food can bring people together but can also make for awkward and difficult conversations. Picture this: You follow a plant-based diet or are trying to cut down on meat and dairy, and a family member asks why you filled your plate with green beans and potatoes instead of the turkey or ham they toiled in the kitchen to make. While “that's what I am comfortable eating” is a perfectly acceptable response, we’ve highlighted a few tips to help you navigate the holidays with compassion and a side of animal advocacy.

1. Establish your boundaries ahead of time

Some of us may be okay discussing our reasons for going plant-based in detail at the dinner table, and others may prefer avoiding the topic altogether. Whichever category you fall into, decide what your boundaries will be before the party and prepare yourself to stick to them in the moment.

2. Think of straightforward responses to common questions

If you are willing to engage in some conversation around plant-based eating, consider some of the questions you may be asked and how you would answer them. Some questions such as: “why is meat bad?” may give you a chance to spread awareness about factory farming and more sustainable food options. However, evaluate the person’s tone and openness to receiving this information, and your own willingness to engage in a potentially heated debate. Remember that the more details you provide, the more follow up questions you may be asked. Unless you are primed to continue the discussion, keep your answers short and sweet.  

3. Lead with positivity (and maybe bring some delicious plant-based food to share?)

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s hard not to get passionate when the topic of factory farming comes up, especially when animal products are on display. But, a holiday gathering is a good opportunity to highlight the positive impacts of plant-based eating. Depending on your motivations, you can speak to how eating plant-based makes you feel, how grateful you are for the number of plant-based products on the market, or even the joy you get from knowing you are helping animals through your daily meal choices. Consider also bringing your own plant-based appetizer, main, or dessert to share the pleasure of plant-based eating with others!

4. Think of a few accessible resources you can share

Be prepared to share some helpful resources should an intrigued friend or family member ask you for more information. This is your opportunity to inspire and stretch those advocacy muscles! For example, write down the recipe for your favorite vegan casserole, share the name of a documentary or book you like on the topic, or direct anyone interested in learning more about helping animals to our website.

Whether you have yet to begin your plant-based journey, are at the beginning of your path, or have fully embraced a plant-based diet, the holidays are the perfect time to reflect on our ability to help create a better world for animals, people, and the planet.

With the above tips in mind, we wish you the most joyous and serene of holidays!

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