Almost two years ago, I stopped eating all red meats and poultry for a variety of reasons. For one, I had come to know that our consumption of red meat is not sustainable. Additionally, meat products are obtained and processed under brutal and inhumane conditions.

No shame to all meat and poultry eaters out there. This is just a personal choice that I've made. Therefore, I know how hard it can be to manage oneself during the holidays, such as Thanksgiving, which are centered around delicious food.

Mainly, I know how awkward it can be to feel like the odd one out not eating turkey and gravy with the rest of your family. Here are some tips for my fellow non-meat eaters for the upcoming holiday.

 #1: Try to Eat Protein Throughout the Day

Protein is the most filling macronutrient due to its longer digestion time and thus its suppression of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. If you make a solid effort to eat as much protein as possible throughout the day, you'll probably feel more satiated with your turkey-less dinner later.

Some common and good protein sources for vegetarians include cheese, Greek yogurt, eggs, tofu, soybeans, vegan protein bars, and hummus. Sneaking any of these sources as a snack an hour or two before dinner, as well as making a conscious effort to eat high-protein foods earlier in the day, can help balance your overall macronutrients even though you won't be eating any turkey. 

#2: Substitute Turkey 

Personally, I still haven't stopped eating fish and shellfish altogether. Even though I only consume products of this type every other day, I still get a fair share of seafood in my diet.

While it's completely non-traditional, having a piece of salmon, shrimp, tuna, or anything else of this sort with your dinner will definitely give you a more balanced, well-rounded meal.

It is by no means required to have the most balanced and healthy meal ever on Thanksgiving—after all, it's a holiday—but I find that trying to eat this way allows me to indulge in all of the deliciousness while not feeling like I need two more servings of each side. Another option, while still non-traditional, is to have some tofu or eggs to complement your meal as well. 

#3: Enjoy the Goodness!

At the end of the day, eating turkey should not be the deciding factor in whether or not you enjoy Thanksgiving. There are so many other foods characteristic of this holiday that are also worth indulging in.

My favorites include pecan pie and mashed potatoes. While it might be difficult and somewhat unpleasant to not eat the main dish on your family's table, that doesn't mean that you should skip out on what is truly important during this holiday: spending time with loved ones and being grateful. Go for the stuffing, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, vegetables, and everything else that I'm sure will be equally delicious! 

I hope these recommendations, while simple and straightforward, can help non-meat eaters during the holidays, as well as remind you that what's truly important isn't eating some turkey and gravy!