Finding Nourishment in Friendsgiving

Y’all there are a lot, A LOT, of adorable ideas out there for how to host a Friendsgiving. In fact, I wrote several ideas over at Veggies & Virtue to share.

But even as an author to these ideas, I think there is a something our Pinterest-obsessed culture has looked over:
Where does the nourishment of Thanksgiving, or in this case, Friendsgiving, really come from?

As a pediatric dietitian, I am happy to give you kid-friendly menu ideas right alongside all the paleo side dishes, plant-based party platters, and other ideas out there that will surely wow your audience at a Friendsgiving gathering. But what I keep coming back to is,

What will fill your friends and family the best?

Is it through this "wow" experience that we can share about on social media, measure through metrics of likes, and validate through comments? My mom-heart says no.
Even the dietitian in me knows that how we answer this question not only has to do with the foods our kids come to crave this time of year, but also how we raise them to relate with this season of giving thanks.

I feel like since we as a society have adopted this viewpoint that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” we as moms have started to feel an unspoken pressure to make everything beautiful, rather than finding the beauty that already exists.
Fresh air. Fallen leaves. Cozy blankets spread atop no-longer-green grass. Baby feet bundled in tiny socks. A preschooler’s laugh while playing chase. Cold coffee and 3 AM friends. Your tribe together.

Y’all, it’s these simple things that are beautiful, filling, and most of all, nourishing. To taste the food, as simple as it may be, for how satisfying it really is. To smell cool, clean air and maybe that special cup of coffee you treat yourself to this time of year. To hear the laughter of our littles and a toddler crunching through leaves, because the noises of timers, doorbells, and phone notifications are silenced. To see the anticipation in a child’s eyes at the top of the slide and the value of being the one person they want to catch them at the bottom.

This is what nourishes not just our kids, not just our mama hearts, not just our friends, but all of us collectively as one.

So this year, I want to encourage you to look at Friendsgiving through a new lens. One that will fill the stomachs and the souls of those who sit around you without all the stress. Let’s simplify how we set up, serve, and sit alongside one another and establish a new annual tradition. One that helps us move into the holiday season and 2018 both refocused and refreshed.

Here are a three, stress-free idea's for how to host a Friendsgiving.

1. The first tip to hosting, is to co-host.

That’s right. If motherhood takes a village, divide and conquer your Friendsgiving meal as well. There is no need to shoulder all the weight when this go to guide breaks it down easily so each mom/family attending this year’s Friendsgiving can contribute in a small and yet significant way.

2. Have each mom sign up to bring the items for one thing.

No one likes showing up with a bag of chips and store-bought salsa still in the grocery bag when another mom brings an Insta-worthy homemade item that steals the show. So, let’s level the playing field and give everyone some grace and an equal buy-in for who brings what. Send the following list to each mom and ask everyone to sign up for one of the listed items. Then give moms the freedom to make their item ahead or bring the supplies straight from the store to assemble on the park bench before eating. Each of the following foods can be pulled off while your kids are running around on the playground and you mamas are talking.

Click here to download a printable grocery list for each of the items pictured below, plus the entire script for how to pull off this fun and easy Friendsgiving menu!

3. Show up.

That’s right. No backing out last minute because you “just aren’t feeling up to it after the morning you have had.” Dry shampoo that hair, throw some socks and boots on you and your babes, and head to the park with the items you signed up for. Trust that friends + fresh air will turn your whole day around, just as you likely will turn theirs around too.

The Nourishment You Need

We hope this post will help encourage you to think beyond the over-complicated endeavor of hosting a Friendsgiving. Instead, let nourishment be your avenue of inspiration this year and lead by example with how you envision Friendsgiving’s going forward. Use the grocery list and email script included for a simple, seamless way to pull this gathering off in the coming week. We know you and your friends will feel fed in mind, body, and spirit when you do!


Thanks to Ashley Smith of Veggies and Virtue for this post. Want to get to know Ashley even better? Check out her Instagram and Website