The Lone Vegan Part 2: Happy Hours, Parties, and Other Functions: How to enjoy going out with your non-veg friends, family, and co-workers for happy hours, parties, and other get togethers.
Today’s post is part 2 of my new “Lone Vegan” series where I answer the question of being the only vegan or vegetarian in a group!
What do you do when your non-veg friends and family decide to go to non-veg restaurants/parties/functions, and you’re forced to follow because you don’t want to be left out?
In this post I’ll cover what to do about happy hours, parties, and other functions where you might be the only vegan or vegetarian. As I covered in Part 1, preparation is key. For parties, happy hours, and most other functions you should have a little advanced notice, so you’ll be able to prepare, but if you don’t have the luxury of advanced notice, you’ll gain the experience of adapting to your surroundings :).
1. Happy Hours: Deciding on Snacks as a Group
One function that may seem like a challenge is the prospect of happy hour, especially if it’s not with your closest friends, but maybe your co-workers. The challenge that arises from happy hours versus a full dinner is that typically there are a lot of mini-dishes ordered and everyone picks and chooses from each. If you’re the only vegan or vegetarian often (although people are usually pretty sensitive to this now) they’ll choose all the dishes that sound good to them and you’ll be left out! So, what you need to do is either order a vegan or vegetarian (depending on your lifestyle) option for yourself and realize that you’ll most likely have to share it with those around you. These sorts of sharing situations are usually the most difficult because you might have fewer options, but just keep in mind you’re doing happy hour to hang out and not be left out due to your vegan/vegetarianism. So, the same techniques go into place with happy hours as they do with going to a restaurant for a more formal meal. Just in case you missed it, in part 1 I highlight my techniques for scoping out the menu in advance 😉. Now if you don’t have advanced notice, just do the best you can at the bar or place where you’re doing happy hour. Almost all happy hours seem to have chips and salsa or chips and guac or hummus and veggies. Although these might not seem as appetizing as pizza or wings or something, they’re better than nothing! Worst case, if there’s no vegan or vegetarian happy hour option for you, then just have a drink and enjoy the company of the people you’re with. This is about hanging out with everyone so that you’re not left out and can still have fun going out with friends.
2. Parties: Being a gracious guest
So, if you’re going to a party this is actually easier than every other option. The temptation challenge might be more difficult than all the other options, but this will be an easier option for you to manage personally because you’ll have a bit more control over the situation. The absolute best thing you can do is bring a dish to share with everyone because chances are, even though everyone means well, none of the other dishes will be vegan. So, if you can take control of the situation and bring your own dish/meal along, that’s perfect! I once knew a raw, fruitarian who brought bottles of juice to a wedding because she knew she wouldn’t have anything for her to eat. So, bring a dish along with plenty for you and plenty to share with everyone else (you might even convert a few people with your awesome cooking skills muahaha). You might not have as many options available to you, but at least you’ll be able to enjoy everyone’s company while having something to munch on :).
Need help coming up with a good vegan dish to bring along? Download my 10 most popular recipes to help 🙂
3. More Formal Get Togethers and Functions: Contacting the host and brining a dish of your own
For more formal get togethers, weddings for example, can be a bit more difficult just because everything is predetermined months in advance. Depending on how close you are to the host of the function you could just call in advance and ask if there will be any option for accommodations. Depending on the formality, you could also bring your own dish, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you could just eat before the event and just focus on the company around you and just decline any formal meal, or pick at the vegan aspects of a dish given to you (e.g. have the salad sans dressing, etc). But you could always sneak in a vegan protein or vegan breakfast bar in your clutch too ;). Again, you just have to do things a little differently, but you’ll get used to it and in the end these get togethers aren’t about you, they’re about spending time with your friends, co-workers, and loved ones!
Full circle: You must be prepared and willing to adapt to various circumstances and must realize that you’re out with friends and family to enjoy their company, in the end this isn’t about you, it’s about being around the people you love and like to be around despite your lifestyle choice. Plus, all of this isn’t the food or what you’re “losing,” it’s about the reason why you took the plunge into veganism/vegetarianism, this is bigger than you and 1 meal. 🙂
Question of the day: What’s your favorite dish to bring to a party?
Happy Happy Hour-ing,
P.S. Want some inspiration for brining a dish along to your next event?
Download my top 10 recipes here.