Meat-free festive season? Here’s all you need to know

If you're going without meat these holidays, or if you have a vegetarian among the partygoers you're hosting, be sure to check out these tips for how to make the festive season as inclusive and happy as possible!

Have a chat with your guests/host

Like always, communication is key when trying to accommodate individual needs such as dietary requirements. Don't expect your guests/host to be able to read minds!

If I'm hosting, I tend to ask the meat-eaters to bring along a plate of whatever they want to eat, which enables them to have their meat of choice without me having to buy and prepare it. If this isn't an option, look at ready-cooked options at your local shops.

I also make sure, as the host, to inquire after any dietary or other requirements when inviting guests. This is a pretty useful time to find out about allergies as well!

When I'm a guest, I try to tell my host as early as possible that I'm not a meat-eater. I also suggest that I can bring a dish so that they don't have to do any extra prep. This way you can have the food you like without adding extra pressure to others.

Also check out this handy guide to avoiding meat when eating out.

What to prepare

I have to admit, I'm planning on sticking to my favourite vego dishes these holidays. I'm planning on doing some fried tofu, pasta salad, and incorporating some delicious plant-based proteins wherever I can!

However, if you're looking for something particularly ~festive~ then check out some of these handy links:

Jamie Oliver's festive vegetarian recipes

Jamie Oliver's festive vegan recipes

50 recipes that meat-free eaters will love to see during the holiday season

Vegan Hanukkah recipes

General tips

  • Keep meat-free dishes separate from the meat: different plates, different cooking surfaces etc.
  • Don't be offended if your host forgets- just adapt, overcome and improvise! Laugh it off and make a sandwich!
  • Don't use the festive season as an opportunity to judge others' diets: the holidays are for relaxing.

Check of these other great tips from the Vegetarian Society!

Also take a look at these questions that everyone asks when you follow a plant based diet (and how to answer them)

And finally... Vegetarian jokes

Possibly the most important tool in the plant-eater's artillery. You will more than likely attract attention when you say "no thanks" to the turkey and pass up on the brisket-topped Latkes. If your family is anything like mine, then you'll attract teasing and joking comments. This in mind, here are my favourite jokes to help you beat them at their own game:

What do vegetarian zombies say?
- Graaaaaains! Graaaaaaains!

What did the lettuce say to the celery?
- Are you stalking me?

And my personal favourite:

What did one vegetarian spy say to the other vegetarian spy?
- We have to stop meating like this.

What's your top tip for meat-free eating during the festive season? Let us know in the comments below!

[Images: Shutterstock]

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