Tips for an inclusive holiday meal - BC SPCA
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Tips for an inclusive holiday meal

October 4, 2022

With numerous holiday and cultural celebrations this season, many of us are turning our attention towards planning a festive meal for our family and friends. Many families and friend groups now include someone who chooses a plant-based diet. We’ve put together the following tips to help you celebrate the holidays and ensure there is something for everyone at the table.

Cranberry Oatmeal Crumble

The “main” dish

Looking to go meat-free? From tasty homemade options to ready-to-eat alternatives, there are many plant-based roasts to use in place of turkey, chicken or ham. Check out your local grocery store for those available to you! If this is your first time going plant-based, ask your plant-based guests to share their favourite brands.

Other popular plant-based main dishes include wellingtons, pot pies, loaves, shepherd’s pie, pasta, stuffed squash, casseroles, stews and more!

Side dish favourites

You may be surprised by how easy it is to turn any dish into a plant-based option! Many alternatives now exist – you can successfully substitute almost any animal product including milk, cream, cheese, yogurt, whipped cream, ice cream, eggs, ground beef, chicken, sausage and more!

  • Mashed potatoes – use plant-based milk and butter alternatives
  • Stuffing – switch out the chicken broth for vegetable broth. Make this a meat-free stuffing by opting out of sausage. Stuffing can be cooked in an oven-safe dish – to keep this plant-based don’t stuff it into the turkey!
  • Soups – replace dairy with plant-based substitutes like coconut milk. Instead of chicken broth, use vegetable broth.
  • Vegetables – steamed or roasted vegetables make for a great side dish. Holiday favourites include cauliflower, squash, carrots and corn.

Plant-based thanksgiving holiday meal


There are many plant-based gravy recipes that are easy to make and just as tasty! Recipes will call for vegetable stock instead of chicken or turkey. You can even get pre-made gravy or instant gravy packs that are plant-based – just be sure to check the ingredients.


Plant-based baking has never been easier – or as delicious! Opting for a plant-based dessert menu doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your favourites. It’s just a matter of making the right substitutions – and there are plenty of options to do so! Eggs are a common ingredient used in baking – try replacing one egg with:

  • One tbsp. ground flaxseed plus three tbsp. water
  • One tbsp. chia seeds plus three tbsp. water
  • One-quarter cup applesauce
  • One-quarter cup of pumpkin puree
  • Half-cup mashed banana
  • One-quarter cup of plant-based yogurt
  • Commercial plant-based egg products – the amount will vary

There are also many plant-based milk and butter alternatives that can be used that will add the same rich, creamy flavour to your dishes. It may take a little experimenting to find the substitutes that work best in your traditional recipes, or you can opt to follow recipes designed to be plant-based versions of old favourites.

Plant based carrot cake

Not ready to be fully plant-based this holiday season?

Show your omnivorous guests you care about the humane treatment of farm animals by purchasing animal products from an animal welfare-certified farm. Farms certified under an animal welfare certification program raise their animals to higher standards of animal care. This includes providing an enriching environment free of cages where animals have the space and ability to perform important natural behaviours and ensure their physical and mental well-being. Regular independent on-farm inspections ensure these standards are being met. Programs the BC SPCA recommends include:

Remember, as a consumer, you have the power to create change. We celebrate any action any individual takes to prevent animal suffering. This includes consumers who choose plant-based and higher-welfare options.

Additional resources

Curious about plant-based eating?

Consuming fewer animal products can have a positive impact on farm animal welfare, the environment, and our health. Whether you choose to consume less animal products, or go vegetarian or vegan, everyone has the power to make a difference.

Consuming fewer animal products can have a positive impact on farm animal welfare, the environment, and our health. Whether you choose to consume less animal products, or go vegetarian or vegan, everyone can make a difference. Sign up below to receive information about the benefits of plant-based eating. During the month of January, you will receive one email each week highlighting an evidence-based benefit.

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