How to Tell Your Host About Your Food Preferences: A Fill-in-the-Blank Template

6 Comments

How to Tell Your Host About Your Food Preferences: A Fill-in-the-Blank Template

Our choices about what food we eat—and don’t eat—are among the most personal ones we make (parenting is another one).

Your family and friends may not share your healthy eating philosophy. Though it may not matter to you if they do, differences in eating can cause people you’re sharing meals with to worry or feel uncomfortable. It may bring up their own insecurities about their eating habits or what they don’t understand about healthy eating.

In the past, I’ve found that being a guest in someone’s home (or simply sharing meals together) with people who do not follow plant-based eating means that we end up talking about food. A lot. Food debates, questioning my decisions, and offering me or my daughter food that does not align with our plant-based eating are all things that have come up frequently and repeatedly.

Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about food. But I would love even more to simply enjoy each other’s company and have the nourishing meals be a backdrop to the experiences we have together.

So what should you do when you want to socialize and plan visits with people who eat differently than you?

As we head into the season of family visits and vacations, I thought it might be useful for you to have a resource to make those conversations as simple and straightforward as possible.

Here’s what I do now: I send an email like the one below to my host two or three weeks in advance of our visit. If they’d like, we have a phone conversation about the content after they’ve read it so they can ask questions.

What I’ve found is that this eliminates uncertainty and worry on their part—bridging the gap between them and myself—and allows me to relax and enjoy our time together instead of fielding questions every hour about what we can and can’t eat.

Here’s a fill-in-the-blank template for telling your hosts about your plant-based eating before your visit:


Dear host’s name,

I’m so looking forward to seeing you next week/in 2 weeks.

Since we’ll be sharing meals together during our visit, I wanted to let you know that I currently eat a plant-based diet/vegan/vegetarian.

What this means is that I don’t eat meat/fish/dairy/oils/processed foods. However, I do eat all kinds of starches, vegetables/fruit, and some healthy sweets.

If we choose to go out to eat together, ethnic restaurants—such as Asian cuisines, and Mexican—will have plenty of options for me.

If we’re sharing a sweet treat or dessert, sorbets and fresh fruit are perfect.

I’m sharing this information with you so that you can ask any questions you’d like ahead of time, and so food does not have to take center stage in our conversations and activities during our visit.

And, know that I respect your personal eating habits and don’t expect you to adhere to mine during the visit. I would love to share my resources and recipes with you, but only as you wish.

Thank you in advance for not offering (my family and) me any meat/fish/dairy/oils/processed foods that I have to say “no” to.

I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have ahead of our visit. And I’d love to cook some plant-based/vegan/vegetarian meals together while I’m there—just say the word.

Love,

Your name


Food for thought: What are the most effective ways you’ve found to talk about your food choices with the people you love?

Comments 6

  1. HI,
    I really appreciate your emails–they help me stop and think about myself and about life and about others. While I too have specific food choices, sending an email prior to attending someone’s home is a great idea but……I would send a shorter version…the long one above feels intimidating…less is more as someone said.
    Let’s hope that more people will become tolerant of other people’s food choices, without the negative criticism and constant harping on the ‘food conversation’, so we can ALL enjoy what we eat.
    Thank you,
    Karen

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Karen: Thank you for you nice words about the Jewish Food Hero emails. I am glad that this template feels supportive to you. It is a good idea to tailor the template so that you feel comfortable using it. Yes to your hope that we can move the negative food conversations off the table (pun intended).

  2. Hi there,
    I’m going to a cottage with some friends this weekend and I have no idea how to break the ice about my dietary preferences. I don’t want to be rude because it isn’t my cottage. Do you think I could bring up my own food?
    My friends eat a lot of eggs, bacon, burgers and hot dogs – things that I no longer enjoy.

    Let me know your thoughts
    -Kathryn

    1. Post
      Author

      Dear Kathryn: YES, I would definitely bring your own food to your weekend at the cottage. Make sure you bring extra food to share. I find that when I prepare and bring extra food to share it makes these experiences easier and enjoyable. You might think about making a warming winter vegetable and lentil soup, baked potatoes or sweet potatoes and a rice dish. All of these choices can be shared and your friends can add dairy or meat if they wish. Meanwhile, you can enjoy your food meat and dairy free. Good luck and keep going. To your health, Kenden

  3. Hmm it seems like your site ate my first comment (it was extremely long) so
    I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog.
    I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing.
    Do you have any tips for inexperienced blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Sadie: I did not see your first comment! Thank you for your nice words about Jewish Food Hero blog. In terms of tips for an aspiring blogger, I think I do have some ideas but it might be better to discuss them via email. Email: hello@jewishfoodhero.com.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment here.
      Sincerely
      Kenden

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