Football season is among us! If you feel this is something you have to miss out on now that you have become vegan, think again! There are plenty of ways to still carry on this ritual while maintaining your plant-based diet. In fact, vegan tailgating may be an excellent opportunity for you to show non-vegans just how fulfilling your cruelty-free lifestyle can be.
This is the time when vegans and non-vegans put aside their differences and come together to watch prime athletes battle it out on the field.
On this note, let’s get started…
Be Prepared to “Overlook” Non-Vegan Tailgaters
As you can imagine, as a vegan, you are going to be a minority at virtually any tailgating event.
This means that you are going to have to put up with a lot of people cooking meat around you. What’s more, be prepared to have people offering you non-vegan food as well.
If you are someone who prefers to avoid situations such as this, then tailgating may not be for you.
However, if you are used to hanging out with non-vegans in such an environment, then there is no need to give up this tradition. Sure, it may be a little awkward, but as long as you stay in your own corner, you should be fine.
It should go without saying that a tailgating party is probably not the best place to try and convince anyone about veganism. For one thing, it is unlikely that there will be too many takers.
For another, nobody wants to hear a lecture about meat when they are trying to have a good time. So, don’t comment on what anyone is eating, and the day should pass without any issues arising.
Match Your Food to the Season
Most NFL games will begin during the first week of September. Now, depending on where you live, the weather may still be rather warm.
In other areas, though, the cooler air of fall may have settled in. Regardless of what the temperature is like, make sure to match your food to it.
For instance, if the weather is still sweltering, avoid anything that can melt in the summer sun.
Otherwise, you will find yourself numerous coolers, trying to keep all your food and drinks chilled.
It’s best to stick with food that doesn’t have to be heated up too much. After all, the last thing anyone wants is to scarf down piping hot food while they are perspiring.
If you hail from cooler climes, then the opposite will be true for you. To make sure that everyone is warm and cozy, stick with hearty meals that will keep you comfortable all day long.
Setting up a grill during this time of the year will certainly be a good idea.
Make Sure Your Food Blends In
Remember, you want to show your non-vegan family members, friends, and fellow tailgaters that vegans aren’t too different from them.
The best way to do this, of course, is to prove that your food is pretty similar to theirs. So, when prepping for your vegan tailgating menu, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, don’t pack or prepare anything obviously healthy. Most tailgating meals include those stick-to-your-ribs foods that your doctor simply wouldn’t approve of.
So, if you were to bring a tray of raw veggies for people to snack on, it might not go down well.
While you don’t need to be unhealthy, remember that taste and texture are what rule at tailgating events.
So, make sure to marinate or season your veggies with plenty of spices, herbs, and vegan sauces. This will help your food to blend in perfectly.
Also, make sure that your food is tailgate-friendly. So, avoid anything that requires too much prep work or attention when on the grill.
Instead, focus on recipes that you can whip up in a flash so that you can spend most of your day eating and socializing.
Pick Crowd-Pleasing Food
Tailgating is a time of sharing. This means that your dishes are passed within your own group and to strangers as well.
Thus, you should think carefully about what you bring to the table (literally!) for this event.
One of your best go-to moves is to make vegan-friendly versions of popular tailgating foods. This includes potato skins, queso, cauliflower barbecue “wings”, chili, guacamole, burgers, “meatball” subs, Philly “chili cheesesteaks”, and more.
Once again, this food will serve as a reminder that a vegan lifestyle doesn’t have to be weird, restrictive, or boring.
Instead, you will open people’s eyes to how you can still enjoy the same things in life, minus the cruelty factor.
Now, you can absolutely veer away from these options and make any kind of vegan food that you like.
When doing so, though, be mindful of your fellow tailgaters. The day will go by a lot more smoothly if you pick dishes that will be more readily shared.
Check the Drinks
It wouldn’t really be tailgating without a drink in your hand, would it? Of course, as a vegan, you do have to be a bit careful about the kind of alcohol you buy. Since beer is the most popular option, let’s start with this first.
By itself, beer doesn’t contain any animal by-products. It is the finings or the clarifying ingredients that are cause for concern. Some traditional brewers use gelatin or isinglass to clarify the beer.
The good news for you, though, is that most modern brands don’t rely on such processes anymore.
As such, you should be able to consume the following brands:
- Budweiser and Bud Light
- Miller Genuine Draft and Light
- Coors and Coors Light (Canadian Manufacturer)
If you are more of a fan of mixed drinks, then the same rules apply. While the alcohol itself may be made from vegan products, the filtering process may not be as pure.
Therefore, it is a good idea to always check before buying – or accepting – an alcoholic beverage.
The good news is that it is actually rather easy to discern whether your drink is vegan or not quickly.
Sites such as Barnivore allow you to type in the name of your drink and figure out if it is vegan or not. Best of all, you can look up drinks from all over the world.
Make a Statement with Dessert
If you are really looking to win non-vegan fans, then you should really make an effort with dessert. As you can attest, vegan brownies and cupcakes can taste like the real thing – often even better!
So, go ahead and make enough for everyone to share.
If possible, though, try and avoid any ingredients that people are commonly allergic to. Or, at the very least, make sure to mention the ingredients you have used. This can help prevent any mishaps.
Also, pick desserts that are easy to carry and can be stored easily. This way, you can guarantee that they will stay intact, even after they have been sitting out for most of the day.
Invest in Some Cruelty-Free Gear
Now, one of the less enjoyable facts of the game is that footballs are made from cowhide leather. So, if you would like to toss one around with friends and family, this fact may make you think twice.
However, there is no need for you to sit out on this tradition either.
Instead, check out what your local sports stores have on offer. While regulation balls are made from real leather, this isn’t always the case for recreational balls or those that are made from children’s sports teams.
So, if you check up on the brand, you should be able to find out if the ball is vegan and cruelty-free.
If you can’t find anything locally, there are still some options available for you. There are several brands online that should have what you are looking for. You will have to buy these ahead of time as they will need to be shipped to you.
Green Your Tailgate Event
As always, make sure that you are being as environmentally friendly as possible. So, before you set out to go tailgating, make sure that everything you are using is green. This way, you will be doing as little damage to your surroundings and the planet as possible.
If you are setting up a grill, use propane. While it is a fossil fuel, it burns more cleanly than most wood or charcoal sources.
If you aren’t a fan of propane, consider briquettes made from a renewable or sustainable material.
Also, stick with cups, plates, and cutlery that is either compostable or biodegradable.
Rather than wrapping food in foil or plastic wrap, pack them in reusable containers complete with covers.
While this may mean more washing up for you, at least you will not be guilty of adding harmful items to the environment.
These are the top tips to follow to throw a tailgating party that will help you celebrate football season in all its glory. What’s more, you just may be able to get a few more people to consider a vegan lifestyle as well.
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