HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hosting vegans for Thanksgiving can be a delightful experience, and it’s great that you’re considering their dietary preferences and/or needs.

Going vegan has many different precipitating factors that lead people to embrace a vegan diet.

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Sure. Sometimes, it’s political, as we’ve been told to believe through television and movies that make fun of vegan foods. Sometimes, it’s simply because someone isn’t convinced that corporate slaughter is the best way to approach their food needs.

But there are some people who have diabetes who cannot eat meat because it makes their blood glucose levels uncontrollable. Then, there’s those whose bodies experience inflammation when they eat meats.

Some people quite simply prefer the sides over the meats, not making them necessarily vegan. However, they are probably a bit more adventurous when it comes to the sides being offered for their enjoyment.

Maybe, the person who is organizing the Thanksgiving feast has decided to create some fun ways of experiencing traditional sides and mains and discovered delicious vegan ways of creating it.

Regardless of how you have come to the conclusion that you need to accommodate a vegan or two at your feast, these are some easy tips for hosting vegans around your Thanksgiving table:

Communicate with Your Guests

Reach out to your vegan guests in advance to discuss their preferences and any dietary restrictions they may have. This will help you plan a menu that everyone can enjoy, and it’ll provide an opportunity for your non-vegan guests to experience something new.

Vegan-Friendly Menu

Include a variety of plant-based dishes in your Thanksgiving menu. There are many delicious vegan recipes for traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Dishes such as vegan stuffing, mashed potatoes made with non-dairy milk and vegan butter, roasted vegetables, cranberry sauce, pies and cakes made with oils instead of butters and eggs. There are so many options that we cannot list them all.

Check Labels

Be mindful of ingredient labels, as some seemingly innocent products may contain animal by-products. For example, some commercial vegetable broths and gelatins may contain animal-based ingredients.

Substitute Ingredients

This is by far the easiest way to create vegan food. You can explore vegan substitutes for non-vegan ingredients. For instance, use plant-based milk (almond, soy, oat) in place of dairy milk, and vegetable broth instead of chicken or beef broth, oil based margarins instead of butter. Nearly everything you make has alternative ingredients that accommodate vegan palates.

Vegan Desserts

Ensure there are vegan dessert options available. Many pies and cakes can be made vegan by using alternatives like coconut milk, flax eggs or vegan butter.

Diversity in Flavors and Textures

Aim for a diverse range of flavors and textures in your dishes to make the meal satisfying for everyone. Incorporate a mix of hearty grains, legumes, vegetables and nuts.

Avoid Cross-Contamination

If preparing both vegan and non-vegan dishes, be cautious about cross-contamination. Use separate utensils, cutting boards and cooking surfaces to prevent mixing.

Accommodate Allergies

Inquire about any allergies your guests may have in addition to their vegan diet and plan accordingly. This applies to all your guests. You don’t need to be vegan to have food allergies.

Inform Other Guests

Let your non-vegan guests know that there will be vegan options available so that everyone can try and enjoy the variety of dishes.

Respect Choices

Respect your guests’ choices without judgment. Thanksgiving is about coming together, being thankful. Accommodating different dietary choices is a wonderful way to celebrate diversity and create an inclusive experience.

Ask for Help

If you’re unsure about specific vegan recipes or substitutions, don’t hesitate to ask your vegan guests for advice or recipes. They’ll likely appreciate your effort to make them feel included.

Enjoy the Experience

Lastly, enjoy the experience of creating a diverse and inclusive Thanksgiving meal. It’s an opportunity to explore new recipes and share a delicious meal with friends and family.

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By being thoughtful and considerate, you can create a Thanksgiving celebration that accommodates everyone’s dietary preferences and makes all your guests feel welcome and appreciated.