Clean Eating and Be Merry

Vegetable Cacciatore 5
I love the holidays. Maybe it’s the festive atmosphere, the parties with family and friends, or maybe it’s all the good food I know I’ll be eating or creating. Whatever it is, I look forward to holidays and plan on making the most of them. Hosting a get together can be a lot of work and there can also be added pressure if your guests don’t follow the same lifestyle as you do. But think of this as an opportunity to show them just how much fun and tasty clean eating can be.

Healthy and Clean Eating

Setting the stage for any great party means starting with a great menu. Lucky for you, there are plenty of great clean whole food dishes to choose from.

What’s for dinner?

Try a pasta dish with a kale pesto, a hearty vegetable cacciatore sauce or a sweet potato shepherds pie. Homemade veggie burgers are always a great hit, try one made from black beans. If you want to serve appetizers try a tasty white bean dip or vegetarian nori rolls. Salad is always a good choice but don’t make it boring! Top up your salad greens with nuts, seeds, dried fruit and avocado or make a fun dressing using cashews, spices and herbs.

Guiltless Desserts!

Dessert doesn’t have to be a simple fruit tray. Who doesn’t love chocolate pudding – and no one will realize it’s made from avocado or coconut! Whichever one you choose for base.  If you’re good at baking, why not try a plant-based carrot pineapple layer cake? Everyone will be impressed. Your meat eating friends won’t even notice what’s missing.

Join my upcoming desserts class at the food studio to get loaded with deliciously decadent recipes!

Make it Fun!

If you’re worried that your friends may be a bit hesitant there are some fun things you can do to engage them and help them see that plant-based food and clean eating isn’t scary! One of my favourite things to do is build-it-yourself lettuce wraps. It’s easy to prepare the ingredients ahead of time such as some tasty orange maple marinated tempeh, edamame hummus, and quinoa tabbouleh salad. While everyone makes their own they can see exactly what they are eating and it’s a lot of fun. Creating one of your dishes as a food demonstration for your friends can be fun as well. They’ll get to see just how easy it is to make delicious and healthy food and there’s a good chance they’ll ask for the recipe so they can make it at home. If you want to use your party as an opportunity to teach people about your lifestyle, be prepared to share some stories of the amazing health benefits you’ve experienced since being on a plant-based diet. You may possibly inspire your friends to make some changes in their own lives.

Hostess with the Mostess!

I know you’ll be excited to share your plant-based living with your friends but there are some things you don’t want to do at your party. First, don’t judge people for eating differently than you do. You wouldn’t want them to do that to you. Second, don’t compare diets and say how much better yours is. It might make them feel defensive about how they eat and close them to the experience of plant-based living. Let them come to their own conclusions once they see how easy it is to eat plant-based healthy food. Also, don’t get preachy. Answer any questions they may have but it’s better to lead by example. And finally, don’t get discouraged. Ask that they respect your lifestyle as you do theirs, but it might take a long time for your friends to fully understand your plant-based lifestyle. And that’s okay. Life is a journey for all of us, take comfort in knowing you have shown your friends another path they may choose, and that’s the one towards plant-based healthy living!

All the recipes listed above can be found in my book, Plant Based Diet for Dummies – get your hands on it today! It also makes a great stocking stuffer!

Give the gift of health & get a gift certificate for that special someone for the Holidays and join a cooking class!

Hearty Vegetable Cacciatore

What’s in it?

1 cup cooked beans (white bean, cannelli, chickpeas)

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 cup diced leeks or onions

1 cup diced carrots

1 cup diced celery

3 cups mushrooms

½ cup finely chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp dried basil

2 tbsp fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano

3 bay leaves

2 cups tomato sauce

1 tsp salt

½ cup finely chopped parsley

1-2 cups of cooked white beans

How it’s made!

  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large saucepan and cook garlic and leek or onion over medium heat until soft.
  2. Add carrot, celery, mushrooms, beans, basil, oregano, bay leaves and tomato sauce, beans salt and parsley.
  3. Cook for 15-30 minutes until moisture has evaporated and dish is reduced and thickened.


  1. Bake in oven (350F) for 15 minutes until heated through
  2. Serve along side whole grain pasta or enjoy on its own.

You might also like