The eating habits and food choices of vegetarians can be extremely confusing for many meat-eaters. A non-vegetarian hostess may find it overwhelming to be required to prepare an acceptable vegetarian meal. There are three categories of vegetarians â?? they are: 

  • The vegan includes only foods from plants: fruits, vegetables, legumes (dried beans and peas), grains, seeds, and nuts 

  •  The lacto-vegetarian includes plant foods plus all dairy products 

  • If you eat the flesh of any animal, including fish, even only intermittently or minimally, then you cannot call yourself a vegetarian.

If you want to be a good vegetarian guest, here are some useful guidelines to ensure that you will be a positive part of any social event â?? rather than a guest who’ll never be invited again!

Inform your host as soon as possible that you are a vegetarian

As soon as possible after receiving the invitation, let your host know that you’re a vegetarian and what that means for your diet.

Make things as easy as possible for your host

Offer to bring a vegetarian dish. If your offer is firmly declined and the host requests a recipe from you, make sure it’s a simple one with everyday ingredients. Offer to supply the ingredients and help prepare the meal. This way there will be no confusion.

If your host sounds interested in your vegetarian lifestyle, bring her a vegetarian cookbook as a hostess gift.

If someone asks about your vegetarianism, politely say that you’ll be happy to talk with them one-on-one when the meal is finished

Remember that you are not there to â??convertâ?? anyone to vegetarianism. If someone is truly asking out of interest, you may wish to discuss it. Itâ??s a good policy to save your environmental, political, religious, health, or ethical discussions on vegetarianism for those who show a genuine interest.

If, however, you feel a guest is simply baiting you, try responding by explaining that being a vegetarian is just your own personal and private lifestyle choice.

Should you experience any aggressive response to your vegetarianism lifestyle, let it go graciously. The rest of the guests will think highly of you for choosing not to be drawn into an unsavoury and/or negative discussion.

Always thank your host for her special effort

It might sound old-fashioned, but a hand-written note to your host will ensure that she knows how appreciative you are of the special effort she made to cater for a vegetarian guest.
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