Whether you are adhering to a vegan lifestyle, a plant-based way of life, or following a diet, you know the challenges presented when attending summer picnics and cookouts (or any food-related gathering). From the jokes to the less than ideal choices, to the smells, and the jokes (eye roll – they happen so frequently I figured mentioning them twice was relevant). I have a great story about a loaded hot dog that shares our first experience at a non-vegan cookout. That experience taught me a lesson that I will never forget. Read that story here. Be sure to read these tips and tricks below on Surviving Non-Vegan Cookouts & Picnics complete with links to some of our tried and true recipes.
Surviving Non-Vegan Cookouts & Picnics
Plan In Advance.
If this is the only piece of advice you take from this post, you will already be way ahead of me at my first picnic. Plan to take a dish to share that will provide a balanced meal if that is the only option you will be able to eat. In fact, insist on bringing a dish and if the host/hostess says no, bring one anyway. Don’t take planning lightly. While everyone wants to to be hospitable to their guests, the host or hostess has a lot of other items to worry about when planning a cookout or picnic; your dietary preference may not be at the top of the list. Trust me; you don’t want to end up with a Loaded Hotdog Bun. Visit our Recipes Page for VEGINSPIRATION!
Prepare for the jokes, questions, and comments.
You will hear everything! Some of my favorites “Oh, you can’t eat that.” “Where do you get your protein?” “Don’t you miss meat, (insert what they are eating), cupcake, hamburgers, hotdogs, ribs, etc.?” So, how do you prepare? I work very hard on prepping my answers and comebacks to these types of comments and questions. My adoption of a vegan lifestyle evolved from a plant-based lifestyle to adopt a healthier way of eating. When someone says I can’t eat something, I kindly reply that could eat it, I just chose not to. When people ask if I miss something, I share the delish recipes and meals we’ve made that are far better as vegan options. The veggie burgers blow a meat burger away.
Perception is Reality
Just remember, their perception is their reality, not yours and it may not even be the actual reality, but for them, it is what they learned and the reality they live. You may or may not have experienced the “enlightenment” of realizing the reality of the Standard American Diet or you may or may not remember experiencing it. I suppose it would depend on when you adopted a vegan lifestyle. I remember quite distinctly my fear and excuses, and the “we’ve always eaten this way” type statements. It wasn’t until I unlearned what I was taught and accepted a new reality that my perception changed. Your co-picnickers have a different perception, and that is their reality at this time.
Focus on the moment and purpose
One of the hardest parts of living a vegan lifestyle is dealing with every holiday and celebration and the meat or traditional items as the focus. YUCK! So, take a deep breath and focus on family, friends, and what you are celebrating (hopefully it isn’t a meat celebration). If it is someone’s graduation, wedding, birthday, or a favorite family holiday, remember that life is short and to focus on the moments and the purpose of the celebration. Be present, love them, and ignore the jokes… they crack them out of fear and misinformation. Be patient, drip information, and above all be the bigger person.
From one vegan to another, you are not alone, and this cookout or picnic is only a few hours. Stay strong! Hopefully, this will help you focus on why you are gathering with loved ones and help you in surviving non-vegan cookouts & picnics.
Quinoa Rainbow Salad (pictured below)