3 Tips to Enjoy a Summer Cookout when you Don't Eat Meat
Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer and the kickoff of Cookout Season here in the US. If you’re like me and you don’t eat meat, attending cookouts can seem daunting, but with a few guidelines it can be just as fun for someone eating a plant-based diet.
As in, BYO veggie burger. Don’t expect anyone hosting (friends or family) to have a veggie burger for you. If you are lucky, they will - but by bringing your own you are showing you want to be part of the festivities but also want to stick to your own eating preferences. It’s easy enough to grab a box of veggie burgers from the freezer section of your closest health food store or, better yet, make some of your own and keep them in the freezer for impromptu gatherings. Some of my favorite DIY recipes are here and here. Packing your own burger ensures that you won’t feel left out wondering “what am I going to eat?”.
You may avoid meat for ethical reasons, but you’re not going to win anyone over by berating them for eating meat at a cookout. I don’t like when people judge me for NOT eating meat (or dairy) so I try to be reciprocally considerate by following The Golden Rule. Remember, everyone is on their own health journey and what’s right for you might not be right for the person standing next to you. Be you and be proud of your choices without making anyone else feel terrible about theirs. Chances are, when people see you eating a veggie burger they will be naturally inquisitive and might ask you questions about what’s in it or how you make it. Use it as an opportunity to educate those curious about the deliciousness of your veggie burgers!
It’s All About the Sides
Personally, I’m a sides kind of girl. The more side dishes, the merrier! When attending a cookout with friends or family I tend to load up on sides like grilled veggies, salads, dips, and fresh fruits and veggies. Just like tip number one, be prepared. Not all sides are going to be meat-or dairy-free (if that’s how you roll) so bring something to share that you know you can eat. That way, you won’t end up with a plate full of baby carrots (we’ve all been there).
After the meal, these desserts are sure to please your hosts:
Enjoy your summer of cookouts and picnics! Remember, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about your eating habits. Enjoy summer in a way that will make you feel happy and vibrant. You never know, you just may have people asking you for recipes because they just can’t get enough of that dish you brought to the last gathering!