7 ways to deal when you’re the only vegan at the holiday table
Between Christmas office parties and family dinners, the holidays often come with lots of social gatherings, which can put a serious spotlight on your vegan diet.
So whether you’re going to your significant other’s parents house for Christmas Eve or attending a Friendsgiving, here are some tips to enjoy the holidays without feeling stressed about eating differently than the rest.
7 tips to be the most gracious vegan during the holidays
1. Bring your own dish — and share it
No matter where the holidays take you — bringing a vegan dish you love is a perfect way to be accommodating and be sure you’ll have something to eat. It’s also a fun way to share how amazing plant-based food can taste with others. Who knows, you may just inspire someone to order the vegan risotto next time they eat out.
2. Let the host know about your diet in advance (in certain situations)
Sure it can sometimes feel awkward telling your roommate’s mom who is hosting you for Thanksgiving that you don’t eat animal products, but it will be much worse to go and not eat any of the food she spent time making.
Hopefully the hosts ask in advance if you have any dietary preferences/issues, but if not — we suggest you casually mention it by telling them all of the food you can eat (and not just the food you can’t eat). That way, you’ll assure them your diet isn’t as inflexible as they may think it is.
Of course, if you’re swinging by a party with 100 people, there’s no need to articulate your diet to anyone (that’s when vegan protein bars come in handy!). But as a general rule: if you’re having an intimate sit-down meal, make sure the host is aware.
3. Be proud and positive (but not preachy)
If you get comments like “I could never eat like you” or “humans were made to eat meat” at the family feast, our vote is to smile and say something along the lines of “that’s one point of view” and keep eating your delicious sweet potato mash.
While we LOOOOOVEEE talking about the incredible benefits of plant-based lifestyles (like how it saves water, protects animals, and can help prevent diseases), acting confident with your choices speaks SO much louder than any defensive words.
4. Remove yourself from situations that make you feel uncomfortable
If you cannot stand to watch someone cut the turkey (🙋), don’t hang out in the kitchen during that portion of meal prep. Or offer to dry dishes instead of washing the dirty plates full of meat lasagna scraps. It’s important to take care of you in a way that doesn’t make others feel bad about their lifestyle.
5. Show up with a snack stash
No one wants to hang out with that person complaining about the food or lack of vegan options at someone else’s event.
Having a baggie of almonds and a protein bar is always a good idea, but it’s especially helpful during the holidays when dinners and events can take up double the time. Feeling hangry is never fun even with holiday music in the background.
6. Reject politely
With holidays come lots of traditions, which can come in the form of food you once ate but don’t eat now. Learning the art of polite rejection is key. If your aunt is trying to force feed you a chicken lasagna she made from scratch from the family cookbook, find a way to compliment, say no, and compliment again (the compliment sandwich).
“Wow that looks great, my plate is full right now and I don’t eat chicken anymore, but that means everyone else gets seconds!” Bam. You were nice, you said no, you moved on.
7. Live your truth
Whether it’s Christmas Eve or a random Wednesday in July your eating habits belong to you. If you feel good about your choices and healthy in your body, that’s what matters.
And if someone is making you feel badly about your lifestyle because you won’t eat the mystery meat stuffing, that’s out of your control. Just keep doing you.
Want some inspiration for recipes to make this holiday season?! Check out these posts:
- Make your Thanksgiving extra Canadian with this vegan poutine recipe
- The BEST vegan cauliflower buffalo chick’n wings
- 10 Bold cooking recipes that will make you feel like you deserve a cooking show