With more and more folks removing animal products from their diets, this is the perfect time to discuss ways non-vegans can easily host vegan friends and family members this holiday.
Vegans are normal people, who eat normal things. It’s easy to get wrapped up in thinking about what they don’t eat, instead of thinking about what they do eat. They eat lots of things – in fact, their diet is probably more diverse than non-vegans. Many cultures eat mostly plant-based with an occasional side of meat; it definitely isn’t the star of a meal. Vegans use lots of spices in their cooking, too. So, if you’re hosting vegans this holiday, consider adding more flavor and less dairy to your dishes!
As a vegan family, we frequently hear phrases like, ” What do you eat?” “You need more protein.” “I don’t know how to cook for you.” “Well, food will be an issue.” We bite our tongues, thinking about how we ate burgers and nuggets growing up and were probably deficient in most nutrients. And wish desperately we had a copy of our favorite vegan recipe book to hand them.
With all that being said, the holidays are a time to spend together, regardless of what you eat.
I hope these tips help hosts and hostesses this holiday season!
Welcome them into your home
This may seem like a no-brainer, but sometimes vegans feel unwelcome. If everyone else in their family hunts and eats meat, they may feel reluctant to come, thinking they will feel pressured to eat meat. Which leads me to my next point.
Don’t offer them meat
You may think you’re being nice by offering your vegan friends and family a home-cooked meal that contains meat. You’re not. Depending on how long they’ve been vegan, the thought of dead animal flesh may make them queasy. People are vegans for many reasons – their health, the environment, wanting to be kind to animals. If they are vegan for the latter reason, then offering them meat may offend them or make them emotional.
Don’t talk about their diet unless you are genuinely interested
This is one of my biggest pet-peeves. Eliminating animal products from your diet isn’t a big deal. However, when people constantly comment on how you’re not eating meat or getting enough protein, it makes for unpleasant situations. Enjoy a meal without talking about what is or isn’t on their plates.
Avoid these phrases:
• If you don’t eat meat, then what do you eat?
• That doesn’t sound good.
• You can’t eat that. (Vegan choose not to eat animal products. They can, they just won’t.)
• I don’t know about that.
• You’re not getting enough protein.
• What’s wrong with eating meat?
• Eating meat is good for you.
• We’re supposed to eat meat.
• How do you survive without eating meat?
• Your kid will want _____ one day.
Keep a few vegan-friendly foods available
This is easier than you may think! Vegans’ diets are typically well-rounded and diverse. Offer them vegetables, soups, dips, chips, breads, and snacks. Yes, vegans like junk-food, too!
Use vegan alternatives in your baked goods
If you are making cookies, cakes, or pies this holiday, try using vegan replacements for eggs, butter, and milk. Earth Balance works just as well, if not better than butter and can be replaced 1:1. Almond, soy, and oat milks can also be replaced 1:1. Eggs get a little trickier, however, 1/4 cup of unsweetened applesauce is good for replacing 1 egg. You can also make a flax egg or use chia seeds, instead.
Enjoy their company
Chances are, your vegan guests traveled from miles away. Instead of talking about their vegan diet and lifestyle, enjoy being with them and focus on the time you spend with them.
Needing Meal Ideas?
I’ve listed some of my favorite vegan go-tos that anyone would enjoy:
Tuscan White Bean and Kale Soup
Wild Rice Stuffed Squash
Fall Harvest Lasagna
Killer Vegan Chili
Savory Vegan Pies
Vegan Tuscan Rigatoni
Creamy Cauliflower Wild Rice Soup
Sweet Potato Casserole
Have any more suggestions on hosting vegan guests? Tell me in the comments below!