How to Survive a Thanksgiving Full of Picky Eaters, Special Dieters, & Football Fanatics
It's Thanksgiving dinner, and the desire to please everyone is...well, understandable, admirable even. And yet, even at Thanksgiving, the old adage holds true: You can't please all of the people all of the time.
There will be paleo people and low carbers; gluten-intolerant and gluten-sensitive folks, and those with nut allergies -- ditto dairy, egg, and tree-nut allergies; and of course vegetarians and vegans, not to mention the food phobic and the just plain picky.
Frankly, it takes courage just to step into the kitchen. To make preparation a little less daunting, we've assembled top-rated recipes that anticipate the quirky needs of your fellow humans -- those very folks you're so thankful are gathered around the holiday table.
Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving
You know what loads of people are thankful for? Lasagna. You don't need to be vegetarian to love this cheesy treat. Perfect for vegetarians. Also perfect for picky kids who don't want turkey and gravy. It's basically cheese pizza in casserole form. Can't lose.
At Thanksgiving, bird is the word, even if you're talking tofu turkey. "The directions may seem a bit daunting at first glance," says Holly, "but don't worry! It is much, much easier than it appears and the actual preparation time is under 15 minutes." You might also like Harvest Vegan Nut Roast
Full disclosure: This recipe calls for chicken stock. Sub in veggie stock to make a totally turkey-free vegetarian version of Thanksgiving gravy. It's rich with caramelized onion and red wine flavors. Try your vegetarian gravy on vegetarian stuffing.
Vegan Option: Easy Gravy
The roasted garlic adds sweet yum to these fluffy potatoes.
See our complete collection of Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes.
It's not difficult to go gluten-free for Thanksgiving. Reject the rolls, pass on the flour-crust pies, and skip the bread-based stuffing recipes...unless it's this one. It calls for gluten-free bread.
Here's a non-bread stuffing that gets it done with high-protein, gluten-free quinoa.
And here's a wild rice dish loaded with good gluten-free stuff.
Not a fan of the flan? You will be. It's completely gluten-free and delicious beyond reason. Also, low in fat.
A Paleo Thanksgiving
Turkey Day is always good news for paleo people, since many non-stuffed roast turkey recipes are perfectly paleo-friendly. And it's not hard to find side dishes to satisfy your dietary needs. Stay away from the starchy potatoes, the white-flour rolls and crusty pies in favor of roasted turkey and vegetable-focused sides, and you should be golden. To make things easy, we put together a collection of our favorite top-rated paleo recipes for Thanksgiving. Take a look.
See our complete collection of Paleo Thanksgiving Recipes.
Picky Eater Plan
For the pickiest eaters, quietly fill them up with delicious roasted nuts before dinner. Roasted nuts are healthy and filling. So you don't have to feel too bad when they're at the table aimlessly pecking about the plate.
"I made these for Thanksgiving and they were a big hit," says cahelwig. "I didn't bother measuring the nuts; I just eyeballed them. Everything else was done as written."
Hey, What About Those Football Fanatics?
Sadly, nothing can be done. Set them in front of the TV with Sweet, Salty, Spicy Party Nuts or these crispy sweet potato chips and a beer, and be glad they're not bothering you in the kitchen.
"Amazing chips," raves cookingx. "These were easy to make and healthier than regular potato chips. The thinner you slice them the better."
Check out our complete collection of Thanksgiving Recipes.