So you want to be a vegan, but your office’s idea of a shared lunch involves even more meat lover’s pizza than you would have wanted to consume even before you changed your ways. Add Friday’s tray of donuts to the mix, and you’re living with the pressure of constant temptation. How can you possibly deal with the stress of your job when also faced with the added stress of a maple bar? Thankfully, vegans have been doing it for years and have developed ways to combat both the allure of lunch meat and whatever carnivorous expectations have been posed by their coworkers.
Though some corporate catering companies work to meet vegan needs, if you’re new to either your job or to veganism, your company may not know about what comes with your new diet. If you want to continue enjoying meals on your company’s dime, you could make an appointment with HR to let them know about what you need to eat. If you’re shy about coming out as a vegan, always come armed with your own lunch and snacks that you know are okay for you to eat. There are many vegan meals and snacks that can be assembled quickly that are delicious and far less harmful than whatever sugary treats your office is peddling. Here are a few snack strategies to get you thinking:
- On donut days, make sure you have a bag of dates around as a substitute sweet treat.
- A sweet juice can be a refreshing fix, too—my favorite is beet, apple, carrot with a hint of ginger.
- Make a batch of hummus at the beginning of the week. You can dip raw veggies in it as a snack, or use it as a spread on a wrap.
What about Lunch?!
Of course, many of us work in environments that don’t provide food and don’t necessarily make it easy to prep your own. Anyone who has eaten a salad that has sat in dressing for hours knows that this is far from an ideal meal. If you’re used to going out to eat for lunch, know which restaurants near your office have vegan dishes. Indian and Thai foods are often a safe bet, and any brewpub worth its grass-fed beef will be willing to make you a salad that meets your needs. Jar salads are also another awesome option. You can pre-assemble a hearty salad in a wide-mouth, quart-sized mason jar and make quick vinaigrette in a separate container. At work, all you have to do is add the dressing to the jar and shake it up. Less-soggy vegetables often make the best additions—try to fill most of the jar with greens, and add a layer of bell peppers, a layer of lentils or raw sunflower seeds, and a layer of shredded carrot. This tastes great with a vegan lentil soup, or even a raw gazpacho made from cucumber, yellow squash, and garlic.
No one likes when the soup they labored over for hours is compared to the consistency of a coworker’s child’s bowel movements. Too frequently, office environments encourage conformity by shaming those who refuse to participate in the dominant lifestyle. Pack some snappy comebacks with your lunch and keep something that reminds you of the value of your lifestyle choices by your desk. In lieu of throwing your green juice in your coworker’s face, put in your earbuds and do nothing for two minutes. When it comes to the office holiday potluck, scour the internet for something easy and delicious to share with everyone. People are more likely to be sympathetic to your choices if you let them taste how delicious it can be. My vegan husband is lucky to have a chef for a wife, but in addition to all of the health benefits, your vegan diet will make you a better cook, and it won’t be long before your wraps and salads will taste better than the memory of pizza.
Hungry For More Tips & Tricks?
Check out this popular post that takes on some of the biggest challenges to your healthy vegan diet!