A quick holiday hello as I race from one food-centric holiday to the next. I would be tempted to say this is a tough time to eat healthy. But let’s be honest—there’s always another holiday, another birthday, another special event, another reason to be tempted. We’ve definitely had our share of slips and falls this year.

And that’s OK. If you’ll recall from my last blog about trying to eat more healthfully, our goal is to increase our plant-based foods. Our goal isn’t torture.

With that in mind, here are a few ideas for veganizing your holidays while keeping them happy.

  1. Make a better salad: It’s easy to add a ready-made salad to any holiday feast. Look for ways to make it more filling and healthy by adding spinach, kale and pomegranate arils (the fruit-coated seeds).
  2. Dare to try seitan: Now, this is not for the gluten-free. But seitan (sometimes called gluten or wheat meat) is a meat alternative you can make yourself pretty easily. We like to make it as gluten steaks, “bread” in nutritional yeast and pan fry for holidays.
  3. Take the easy vegan routes: Some holiday foods are really easy to take vegan. Mashed potatoes? Try a whey-free margarine in place of butter, milk or cream. Stuffing? Pepperidge Farm is our vegetarian go-to brand, and I use olive oil and vegetable stock in place of butter and chicken stock. (Better yet, make it homemade!)

Most of all, remember that making healthy eating an everyday lifestyle means that, even if you do indulge now and then, overall you’re still making great strides towards a balanced and heart-healthy life.