Top 5 Tips to Be Socially Plant-Based

Micaela Karlsen, MSPH

We’ve all felt it – that occasional (or perhaps frequent!) discomfort that comes with eating differently from other people. Getting social support is critical and can mean the difference for some in sticking with a dietary change or getting derailed, whether you are beginning a total transition or refining an already healthy diet. Here are my top 5 suggestions for staying connected and making plant-based eating socially sustainable.

1. Let a good friend know you are trying something new with your diet, and you’d appreciate their support during this transition. If you feel you need some accountability, you could share some of your goals and ask this friend (or family member) to check in with you about how you are doing in meeting them. This works best when you can choose someone who is a good listener and non-judgmental, although they don’t necessarily have to be eating the same way you are.

2. Make delicious healthy treats and bring them into the office. Your coworkers will never see what hits them!

3. Post pictures of the dinners you make on Facebook. All the “likes” and “mmm, want to be my personal chef?” are really good for morale.

4. If you have kids, schedule a time to cook together. Let them choose the recipes (from your pre-selected list) and go shopping for the ingredients together. Let them do as much of the cooking as possible, and make the dish the centerpiece of your family lunch or dinner, with special praise for them in developing some new skills.

5. Host a plant-based-themed potluck dinner gathering at your house. If your friends aren’t familiar with what that means, send fancy email invitations and promise them some exotic wine to pair with these plant-based dishes. You can frame this as an exciting adventure dinner and include some links to recipe websites if they need ideas about what to make. You can also invite potential new friends through a vegan Meetup group in your area.
It takes some care and attention to share your lifestyle without making others feel excluded, but it’s well worth the effort. Your own experience will be richer, it will be easier to keep eating in alignment with your goals and values, and you may find that your friends are inspired by your example!