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Tips to survive – and enjoy – an AIP Thanksgiving: like avoiding temptation, traveling, how to eat over friends' and family's' houses, having company, and even some AIP Thanksgiving recipes to make!
One of the hardest times to be on a restrictive diet is during the holidays.
First, way too many temptations get in front of your face, and your willpower is definitely tested over and over and over again.
Secondly, you are put into many, sometimes often awkward and difficult, situations that test your relationships and ability to navigate social situations.
And last but not least, what the heck do you make?!?
I will answer all of these and more in this post because I have been through it MANY a time my friend.
Avoiding Temptation During the Holidays
The first situation I want to address is avoiding temptation while on the AIP Diet during the holidays like Thanksgiving.
My first piece of advice when navigating ANY difficult situation, whether it's a holiday or a wedding, birthday, special event or whatever, is to know exactly WHY you're doing AIP.
In order to make this easier for you, I've created a quick worksheet you can download, print, and fill out. Keep this handy throughout the holidays. Just click on the image to download it.
My next piece of advice about avoiding temptation during something like an AIP Thanksgiving is to make sure you're prepared with lots of snacks – or easy snack ideas and even some desserts so you don't feel the need to go astray.
Some ideas for this are:
- 1-minute AIP Snack Ideas
- AIP Snacks You Can Get at Convenience Stores, Grocery Stores, Target, and Wal-mart
- 25 AIP Snack Ideas
See some AIP Thanksgiving dessert ideas below.
AIP Thanksgiving Travel
Travel is another often difficult area while on AIP, but it's really no different at Thanksgiving vs the rest of the year. Just maybe a bit more crowded and stressful.
My biggest tip with this though is again – SNACKS!
Seriously though, snacks when facing any sort of temptation, travel, conference, or uncertain situation will always help. Nothing is worse than feeling that sensation of your blood sugar dropping, the irritation and lightheadedness setting in, and hunger.
Snacks will keep you from making bad choices and give you that leeway to make it to your next full meal without peril.
Plus, you never know when you're traveling if you'll hit any delays. Whether that's via plane or car (traffic anyone?). So keeping some really filling and delicious snack options with you will help a ton.
Eating Over Friends' and Family's Houses
Awkward situations can really put a damper on your holiday when eating an AIP diet over friends' or family's houses for Thanksgiving, so it's best to do a little planning ahead to try to avoid these situations.
If possible, when making plans, see if your friends or family can come to YOUR place to eat, because then you can control everything. No worry about cross-contamination or eating non-AIP ingredients.
A Crucial Conversation
If that's not an option though, the first thing to do is call your host/hostess and have a conversation letting them know that you're on a special diet. It's best to make sure you let them know you are doing this for YOU to feel better. Sometimes people feel like you're judging the way they eat, so by totally owning it (and not making any comments about the way they eat or that anything they may eat is “unhealthy”), things will go smoother.
Ask if it's ok for you to either make (if you're away from home) or bring over some dishes – either just for yourself or to share. What you offer and bring may depend on how many other people will be there and how a dish would fit in.
For example, if you plan on bringing mashed butternut squash and brussels sprouts, it may be perfect for Thanksgiving and is something you can make quite a bit of.
And if the meal is a party for 50 people, your host/hostess may be appreciative if you just bring your entire meal so they don't have to think about any of your restrictions.
If They Want to Make Something For You
Sometimes you'll get lucky and your host/hostess will want to make a dish for you that will fit within your dietary constraints.
If this is the case, it's easiest to send over some recipes that wouldn't be difficult to make and that don't include weird, Paleo-only ingredients like coconut aminos or tigernuts that most people don't have in their pantry.
Instead, simple is best here, like roasted diced sweet potatoes with salt and cinnamon.
And make sure to thank them profusely 🙂
If You Accidentally Get Served and Eat Non-compliant Food:
If your host/hostess accidentally serves you something that isn't AIP-compliant, it's best not to get angry with them. It unfortunately happens (I had this happen to me with butter on a Thanksgiving turkey), but getting mad won't help anything.
Instead, smile, be gracious, and perhaps not even mention it – they'd probably feel TERRIBLE if they knew. The whole point of having you over was to spend time with you and provide for you, and if they knew that they messed that up – well just put yourself in their shoes. You'd probably feel really bad too, right? It's not their job to remember all of your dietary restrictions, so be gentle.
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Keep some activated charcoal with you though in case this does happen – it will help rid your body of the toxins quicker and hopefully make any ramifications not nearly as bad.
Having Company Over for Your AIP Thanksgiving
Having people over your house is the best way to go if you can swing it because then you can control everything.
However, if you do have the fortune of having everyone come to your place, it's best to serve a meal that doesn't cry AIP! So no liver pate, carob powder, or strange recipe you've never made before, etc.
Instead, serve something that's more universal.
Obviously Thanksgiving choices are things like roast turkey, roasted Brussels sprouts, mashed sweet potatoes, etc. AIP versions of these can be quite tasty and there's not much you have to change anyway.
You might choose to serve something that is naturally AIP, like these Ginger Baked Pears for example.
You also can make and serve things to round out the meal that you can't eat as well, like a green bean casserole, mashed white potatoes, and the like. These will give your guests more options.
This also goes for if someone has a sentimental attachment to a dish you can't eat – you can always make it for them but you don't have to eat it.
Watch out for Cross-Contamination
Do watch out for cross-contamination if you make non-compliant dishes for others though.
For instance, if someone requests a white flour bread stuffing, use a disposable aluminum baking pan to cook it in so you don't need to worry about your own pan. If that's not an option, really make sure you wash your pans/dishes really well afterward.
See also: The Ultimate Guide to the AIP Diet – everything you need to know to be successful
AIP Thanksgiving Recipes
Now for the fun part! No need to ask “What Can I eat for Thanksgiving on AIP?”. I've got the answers for you down below.
These tasty AIP Thanksgiving recipes will give you some ideas on making this holiday enjoyable.
AIP Thanksgiving Appetizers
Toasted Coconut Chips by Thriving On Paleo
Cinnamon Apples by Thriving On Paleo
Creamy Artichoke Dip from Meatified
Bacon-Wrapped Butternut Squash Bites by A Squirrel in the Kitchen
AIP Sour Cream by Real World AIP (dip veggies into it!)
AIP Thanksgiving Sides
AIP Air-fryer Brussels Sprouts by Bon AIPpetit
Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Thriving On Paleo
Sweet Potato Puree with Coconut Orange and Ginger by And Here We Are (omit the black pepper)
Sauteed Persimmons by BonAIPpetit
Cranberry and Orange Relish (with variation to make it probiotic!) by And Here We Are
Winter Veggies in Spiced Coconut Milk by Phoenix Helix
Roasted Carrots with Carrot Top Pesto by Thriving On Paleo
Roasted Broccoli by Thriving On Paleo
Homemade Gravy (pan drippings from the turkey, 1/2 cup white wine, a bit of chicken stock if needed, and 1 tbs of arrowroot flour – all whisked and then cooked together in a sauce pan until thick)
Sweet Potato Casserole (4-5 roasted mashed sweet potatoes with about a tbsp of coconut oil, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp Mace, 1 tsp salt and placed in a large casserole dish) with Urban Poser’s Homemade Marshmallows on top
Apple-Cranberry Holiday Stuffing from Autoimmune Wellness
“Corn-bread” Stuffing by Unbound Wellness
AIP Thanksgiving Stuffing by Real World AIP
Paleo & AIP Butter by Real World AIP
AIP Thanksgiving Main Dishes
Prosciutto Wrapped Stuffed Pork by Bon AIPpetit
Slow Cooker Ham by Thriving On Paleo
Best Ever Brined Turkey from Gutsy by Nature
Oven Roasted Chicken with Sage and Lemon by A Squirrel in the Kitchen
AIP Lamb Roast by A Squirrel in the Kitchen
AIP Thanksgiving Desserts
Ginger Baked Pears by Thriving On Paleo
AIP Pumpkin Pie by Thriving On Paleo
No-Bake Butternut Squash Pie by Bon AIPpetit
No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake by Meatified
AIP Coconut Pumpkin Panna Cotta by Bon AIPpetit
AIP Classic Apple Pie by Autoimmune Wellness
Pumpkin Pie Bars by Unbound Wellness
Apple Pie Bars by Unbound Wellness
AIP Apple Cinnamon Bars by Real World AIP