Attending non-vegan holiday parties doesn’t have to be difficult!
I know for many vegans that attending non-vegan holiday events can be a source of stress. Everything from annoying animal jokes, to strangers all of a sudden becoming nutritional experts, worrying about what to eat, the list goes on. Then there is not wanting to seem like an annoyance with our dietary choices. It can be no surprise that lots of vegan forgo the events altogether.
Even if you have supportive friends and family, it can still sometimes be stressful to have people who aren’t used to preparing vegan food do so for you. And by stressful, I mean you don’t want to appear to be an obsessive, kitchen-stalking, recipe and ingredient reading, freak-show. Vegans, you know what I’m talking about hahaha.
But with planning you can remove the stress and enjoy the holidays!
5 Tips for enjoying non-vegan holiday events:
- If a dinner is being prepared for you, ask the host what you can contribute to the meal. This is a simple way to make sure you will be eating more than bread and a side salad. This is also means your host doesn’t have to worry about meeting your dietary needs.
- Be prepared to bring enough to serve everyone. Firstly, this is a great way to introduce non-vegans to the wonderful world of plant-based dishes. Secondly, once someone tries a nibble of your plant-based dish, they will devour it, vegan or not! So best be prepared to feed everyone.
- It is almost impossible to escape the holidays without someone questioning why you eat the way you do. I find it is best to have some preset answers to address any comments, rude or not, that get you in and out of the conversation as quickly as possible. Nothing dampens a holiday mood more than having to explain to someone why you’re not eating a bacon-wrapped-something-or-other. For me, the simplest way to avoid any conversation is to say I’m not eating “X” for health reasons. Most people don’t inquire further when you cite health reasons for why you don’t eat something. If they do inquire further, a smile followed by “it’s personal” typically ends the conversation.
- Bring your own butter. Butter is one of those ingredients that many non-vegans forget about when cooking plant-based. Again, this is something you can tell your host ahead of time and ask that a small portion anything that would have butter added (like potatoes or side vegetables) be set aside for you.
- Bring something sweet! Don’t forget about dessert. Almost all non-vegan dessert contain dairy in some form or other, so again bring your own (letting the host know of course) and bring plenty to share.
Keep in mind that a holiday party or dinner is not an appropriate time to discuss animal rights or climate change. However, there is nothing wrong with using it as an opportunity to introduce non-vegans to delicious plant-based foods.
What are your favourite vegan dishes to bring to holiday parties? Share the recipe in the comments!