For the vegetarians out there, summer is a difficult time. Cookouts and barbecues are often filled with meat, and we, along with our intense vegan comrades are often overlooked. The biggest and baddest of these cookouts is the Fourth of July, when burgers and hot dogs are on every grill but ours. So to help you get through the most patriotic of holidays, here are 5 Tips for Vegetarians to survive the Fourth of July without giving up your convictions.
1. Take things in your own hands and host the cookout yourself.
This is definitely the most intensive way to enjoy a vegetarian 4th of July, but the one that would likely yield the best results. Being able to control the menu makes sure that all your delicious vegetarian favorites are front and center. Though you might have a headache about planning a cookout that caters to everyone’s diet and plans, it might just be easier than suffering through a dozen half-drunk patriotic eaters trying to push meat onto your plate. And perhaps you can even convert a meat eater to the joys of a non-meat diet.
2. Communicate with the host for accommodations.
This might be the easiest way to ensure that you have the energy you need to party patriotically without the work of throwing a shindig yourself. While communicating about when you’ll arrive and what you’ll bring to said cookout, ask what options are available. Most any host is willing to accommodate dietary needs, and being upfront about what you need is the surest way to party with the rest of them. If they are going to the store to get an alternative, offer to chip in, especially if your preference is more expensive.
3. Bring your own vegetarian alternatives.
This goes hand in hand with the previous tip but just bring your own. While some hosts can be a little territorial when it comes to the grill, a little communication can go a long way, and many vegetarian alternatives have multiple cooking options if your host is unwilling to give up space on the grill. Alternatively, don’t ask beforehand and just, take a spot on one side of the grill–nothing is more patriotic than occupying space that isn’t yours.
4. Load up on those sides.
If working with the host or hosting yourself is out of the picture, there aren’t a lot of options left. What is left though, are a ton of sides. Sides are the best part anyway, so load up, focusing on the heftier sides, especially anything that has protein such as baked beans (if vegetarian) and guacamole (if someone brings south of the border sides). While it might not always be possible to bring your own meatless patties, sides are often easier to bring, so this is another opportunity to control your diet. Either way, load up.
5. Eat beforehand, and throw a fit.
This is undoubtedly the worst option. If there is truly no option available to you, eat beforehand. While it’s okay to take up the space to control your diet, what isn’t is for a host to purposely exclude you. Consider your options for your vegetarian 4th of July and the company that you keep. This isn’t just a non-meat elitism, but really, if a friend isn’t willing to help out, what kind of friend are they. And if the situation is dire enough that you have to eat beforehand, and there was no way to accommodate a not-at-all-that difficult request, well, I’d say you have full agency to make that known.