America is entering the chaotic, beautiful holiday season, and that means lots of occasions to get your family and friends together and EAT. The only problem is, not everyone is surrounded by a vegan friend-family support system. For the veteran vegans, it's second nature to glide past the gravy and to avoid your great-aunt's very not-vegan mashed potatoes. For new vegans, however, this can be a daunting task, especially when many traditional holiday foods are not exactly veggie-friendly. But fear not! In addition to whatever you will be contributing to the festivities (something I strongly recommend, especially if your diet doesn’t align with those you’ll be spending time with) here’s what to look for so you can navigate the holiday spread like a pro: The Appetizers Steer clear of that cheese platter and opt for nuts, olives and pickles: great additions to a plate that can add volume, texture and satisfying fats. Grain Salads Did someone say couscous? How about wild rice? Quinoa? Don’t underestimate those hearty wintertime grain salads: you could even use this as the ‘main dish!’ Cooked Vegetables Roasted veggies are great, just be sure to ask if they had been made with oil or butter first. Steamed or sautéed veggies are also a great option. Stuffing Cooked Outside the Bird Double check what kind of broth the ingredients may have been cooked in, then pair with some cranberry sauce for a throwback to holidays pre-plant-based. Dessert Look for desserts containing baked spiced fruit: if removing the pie filling from a butter crust works for you, go for it! Applesauce served as a side or even the sweet potatoes leftover from dinner might make a great dessert with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. Eating a vegan diet and enjoying the buffet is completely possible. Get creative and see what delicious ideas you can come up with!