Cooking for picky eaters is most stressful part of holidays for nearly half of Americans

NEW YORK — Forget finding the perfect gift or catching a flight — the most stressful part of the holidays is actually cooking for those with different diets and taste buds.

A survey of 1,000 millennials and 1,000 baby boomers finds 46 percent of respondents feel “cooking for those with picky palettes or diets” is the part of the holidays that stresses them out the most. This beats out other options on the list, including “avoiding political talk” (43%) and “trying to eat healthy” (42%). It also ranks higher than traveling (35%) and “getting the right gift” (32%).

Millennials are actually much more stressed about accommodating those with specific palettes — with 64 percent of millennials saying cooking for picky eaters stresses them out, compared to only 28 percent of baby boomers.

Commissioned by San Francisco-based food technology company Eat Just, Inc. and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also finds that despite the stress, more millennials seem to be incorporating options into their holiday menu that cater to different dietary needs.

Is there a ‘perfect’ holiday dish?

Stress Holiday cookingThe survey found 54 percent of all the survey respondents believe they’ve found the “perfect” holiday dish — which is equal parts healthy, tasty, and good for the planet. Broken down by age, it was millennials who were most likely to say that (74%), compared to just 34 percent of baby boomers.

When asked what that “perfect” dish contains, millennials believe it would have less sugar (63% vs. 54% of baby boomers), whole grains (62% vs. 52%), and would use plant-based products (61% vs. 44%). Respondents aren’t just incorporating plant-based products into their “perfect” holiday dish — the survey found 71 percent of millennials plan to make plant-based versions of traditional dishes to change things up this holiday season. Meanwhile, less than a third of baby boomers (28%) shared the same sentiment.

Interestingly, both generations are slightly more likely to be making plant-based alternatives this year compared to last year. A similar survey by Eat Just, Inc. and OnePoll from 2020 found 67 percent of millennials and 24 percent of baby boomers planned to make plant-based versions of traditional dishes.

No one’s eating seconds this year?

Stress Holiday cookingGoing green isn’t the only difference during the holidays: in this year’s survey, respondents were asked how they plan to change up their holiday traditions this time around.

Results show respondents are also eating smaller portions (43%) and are planning to eat healthier (42%). People are also purchasing more sustainably-sourced food (35%) and are eating more plant-based options (32%) compared to previous years.

“The holiday season is stressful enough without having to plan to make different dishes for family members and friends with dietary restrictions and preferences. Finding ingredients that satisfy a range of diets has never been easier and more delicious, thanks to recent breakthroughs in the food industry. Whether you are plant-based, keto, low-carb, low-fat or cholesterol-conscious, a growing number of products are now available that can make your favorite holiday foods better for you and better for the planet,” says Josh Tetrick, co-founder and CEO of Eat Just, creator of JUST Egg, in a statement.

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