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How to handle going to a non-vegan dinner party

Kids eatfree (1)

Many people wonder and worry about what they should do if they are vegan or vegetarian and are invited to a dinner party or will attend an event where food is served. This is common, but you don't have to let it give you anxiety. And the last thing you want to do is make it look like vegetarians and vegans are a bunch of uptight jerks who should never be invited anywhere. 

Here are a few things you can do if you are a vegan or vegetarian and have been invited to a dinner party or event that you know is not vegan:

  • Don't expect people to cater to you. It's nice if they go out of their way to make something for you, but don't expect it. 
  • If you are attending a dinner party, there is a good chance your host knows your dining preferences already. Even so, it's a good idea to say something like "Since I'm a vegan I would love to bring a great entree to share with everyone." Making an entree to take does two things: it ensures you will have food to eat, and it gives everyone else a chance to try some vegan food. Make a nice vegan dish and share it proudly. Look around for other dishes that you can eat that the host made. Nobody makes all meat-based dishes, so you are bound to find some side dishes that are vegan, if only by accident.
  • When attending an event that you know is not vegan you should assume there won't be much there to eat. To accommodate that there are several things you can do, such as eat something before you go, take along some snacks as survival food to get you through the event (granola bar or nuts in your purse), or eat when you leave the event. You will likely find some vegan sides at the event, but don't expect vegan entrees. Eat what you can, make the most of it, and move on, rather than make a scene.

People already view vegetarianism and veganism as difficult. If you complain and whine about not being accommodated with vegan food at the event you are just adding to that stereotype. You would be helping to make it look like vegans demand that people cater to their preferences and that it's difficult to go anywhere as a vegan. Rather than do that, just go with the flow. It's one meal, you can handle it and make adjustments.

While we are on the topic, let's also mention that the non-vegan dinner party is not the time for you to start laying into people about what they are eating. Enjoy the party, by enjoying being around the people. If they ask you about veganism then great. But don't use the party as a platform to start putting people on defense about their diet. Rather, lead by example.



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