Photo: Betsy Weber via FlickrIt's that time of the year again. You've been invited to your company's holiday party, your neighbor's open house, or your aunt's holiday feast. You've donned your holiday sweater and now you're wondering: Will there be anything for me to eat? Whether you're a new vegan or have been following a vegan lifestyle for decades, the anxiety around these types of events may never go away completely. However, there are a few tricks you can use to help navigate these holiday buffets and avoid hunger pangs. 1. Ask ahead. If you’re going to a party hosted by people you know well, it’s okay to ask in advance whether there will be any vegan foods available. Just be sure you’re asking politely, and offer some suggestions if the party host asks what kinds of things you might like to see. Don’t expect a party host to cater to you, especially if you’re the only vegan in attendance, but most people will bend over backwards to make sure that everyone can enjoy the party.
Photo: Neeta Lind via Flickr2. Cruise the crudités. It may seem a little boring, but filling up on broccoli florets, cauliflower, cherry tomatoes, and carrot sticks may be your best defense against party hunger. Look for pickles, olives, and roasted nuts as well. Skip the dip that accompanies most veggie platters, as it's likely to be a dairy-based dressing. Instead, look in other places on the buffet for other dipping material, such as hummus, soy sauce, or oil-and-vinegar salad dressings. 3. Bring a dish. Ask the host if you can bring a vegan dish to share with your fellow party-goers. Although the host may not want to turn the event into a potluck, most people will be more than happy to accept a contributed dish if they're aware of your dietary restrictions. Pick a dish that is easy to share, hearty enough to sustain you, and tasty enough to catch people's attention. Be prepared to share the recipe!
Photo: Lee J Haywood via Flickr4. Special requests. If your company's holiday party is hosted in a restaurant, ask your server at the beginning of the party if they can offer you a dish to accommodate your vegan diet. Most restaurants are more than happy to comply, especially when you're dining with a larger party. You might be surprised to discover what might come out of the kitchen! 5. Snack in advance. Although snacking before a party may seem like a downer, it’s smart for a number of reasons. For starters, it can help you avoid overdoing it on party “junk” foods. It’s also wise not to hit the party with an empty stomach if you’re planning on partaking of any festive adult beverages. Having a little snack on board before you head out will help you relax, have a good time, and not suffer from the desperation of eating “rabbit food” all evening. Enjoy!