We’re breaking down tips for hosting vegan for the Holidays so you can be the perfect and gracious host you desire to be!
If you are looking for tips for hosting vegans for the holidays, then you have come to the right place.
If you are looking for tips for hosting guests with different food preferences than yours, then you are still in the right place.
There are approximately 1.6 million people who are vegan just in the United States, while 7 million are vegetarian. That doesn’t include people who are plant based.
This doesn’t include the millions of other people that are on another speciality diet by choice – keto, gluten free (not allergy related), paleo, weight watchers, etc.
Add in the fact that there are 15 million people with food related allergies, then the chances are high that you are hosting someone with a dietary preference that uncommon.
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No need to worry though.
It’s not hard to be a great host, while meeting the needs of the family or friends you are hosting.
We’re sharing 10 tips for hosting vegans for the holidays. These tips will also help no matter what the dietary preferences are for who you are serving.
Here are our 10 tips for hosting vegans for the holidays:
1. Know what vegans can not eat
The most important thing you can do is understand exactly what veganism is. Now veganism is more than a diet, but since you are only hosting and worried about food, we only need to discuss the food aspect.
Vegans do not eat ANY animal products or byproducts.
At the most basic level many people understand that means no meat. Sometimes there is confusion on if fish is okay and the answer is no. Any dish that is made with the flesh of any animal is not okay for vegans.
So that means no beef, pork, chicken, fish, veal, venison, or any other animals.
It also means nothing that comes from an animal either.
This would include things like no eggs, no milk or other dairy products like butter or cream, and no honey.
You also have to be aware of things like gelatin in marshmallows or jell-o since that is a byproduct of pigs.
2. Read labels.
Thankfully, some of this is a bit easier due to current US federal laws requiring Top 8 Allergens to be labeled. So if you see contains milk, egg or fish, then you automatically know that it’s not going to be safe to feed your family.
If something says “may contain” then usually vegans are okay with this, but you should ask the people you are serving.
May contain is a cross-contamination label that means it’s processed in a facility with that allergens, but it doesn’t mean there’s animal products inside the item you are looking at.
It’s still important to look through the list though and make sure you don’t see things like gelatin, honey, beef, chicken, pork, etc.
3. Double check brands with the family.
Simply ask the family if a certain brand is okay. The easiest way to know if something is safe when purchasing is to ask the family if they know if it is or not.
They have a lot more experience with what is and is not vegan and will love that you are going out of your way for their family.
A simple text that says “Hey! I’m going to the store. Could you stay by your phone in case I have questions about what to buy to make food for you?”
They will be thrilled at the fact you are making an effort.
4. Ask the family for help recreating the dish
If you aren’t sure about how to substitute something in a dish, whether that’s milk or butter, simply ask the family if they have suggestions.
Just like Tip 2 – the family knows what brands are safe and can cut down on a lot of your time if you ask them for tips in recreating your family favorites to be safe for them as well.
For things like mashed potatoes, it’s simply switching the butter and milk for a vegan friendly butter and milk that is more than ever easy to find alternatives for. And you will likely be shocked that you can’t tell a difference.
5. Prepare vegan dishes first
If you are making dishes that are vegan, as well as dishes that are not, you’ll want to prepare these dishes first. The reduces the risk of cross contamination and any confusion.
6. Have a separate table or area for safe foods
Any time that you have a spread of lots of different options, there’s always the risk, someone is going to switch serving utensils or cross contaminate food somehow.
Have a separate area or table that is specifically for your guests that may be vegan.
7. Keep Foods up high if children are vegan
If the person(s) you are cooking for is a child, especially a smaller one, take steps to have unsafe foods out of reach for them.
Holidays, especially, are a bit chaotic with everyone running around and children notoriously just grab and sneak food.
If a person is vegan and hasn’t had food like milk or eggs or other animal products in a long time, eating them can cause gastrointestinal issues. No one wants a sick kid especially at the holidays.
It’s best to just have it separate and higher up.
8. Don’t be upset if asked more questions about the dishes
You want everyone to love your dishes, but also be gracious guests. After all, you’re hosting them in your house and likely spent hours and hours creating this huge feast.
So it may seem a little untraditional that someone questions how you made something.
Don’t fret though if you are hosting vegan guests. They are simply trying to make sure themselves or their family are going to be safe when eating.
The family may want to know how you prepared something or double check ingredients or brands to make sure that it is truly safe.
Also – don’t be upset if a vegan family member brings a plate of speciality food for themselves or their immediate family. Sometimes, it’s better just ensuring that the dish is safe.
9. Save bags/boxes of products you used so family can check
One of the easiest ways to ease the mind of the family you are hosting with a food allergy, is to save the bags and/or boxes from the products that you’ve used.
Break them down so they don’t take up a lot of space, but make sure that they are saved until after the dinner is over.
This can help let the family know you really tried, while giving them peace of mind that the stuffing mix or butter you bought is truly safe for them.
10. Double Check Everything
When in doubt, double check everything above. If you are even slightly hesitant you made a mistake, own up to it and let the family know. It’s better to be safe than sorry in this scenario.
So what can you feed vegans? The answer is everything!
We’ve made it very easy for you too! Click here to get some of the best vegan thanksgiving recipes!