Fun activities & training this National Vegetarian Week
With National Vegetarian Week soon approaching (10–17 May), why not use the week to host some fun veggie activities for your residents? Charity Vegetarian for Life (VfL) has plenty of inspiring ideas to help your planning.
This is a really nice way to make vegetarian or vegan (veg*n) residents feel included and to celebrate their lifestyle choice. Perhaps ask them for their ideas to observe the week, or cook their favourite meat-free option for all to enjoy.
And even if you don’t have veg*n residents at present, the celebration can be a fantastic way to introduce new foods. You’ll likely find your residents are happy to try some meat-free options.
Here are VfL’s top tips:
1. Host a vegetarian supper club. Plan and serve a three-course meal for residents.
Here’s a suggested menu from VfL:
- Starter: Carrot, Ginger & Orange Soup
- Main: Mushroom, Nut & Cranberry Wellington
- Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding
2. Run a tasting session of veg*n foods: for example vegan ice cream, vegan cheese, plant milks, faux meat products, tofu, or hummus and veggie dips. You could even make score cards and pick a winner at the end.
3. Experiment and try some more unusual ingredients, such as banana blossom ‘fish’, jackfruit curry, or some tofu dishes. You might even use silken tofu to make a mousse, quiche, or scrambled tofu. Play ‘guess the ingredient’ first, and let residents suggest what you might make with it – a great way to start discussions and give veg*n residents a chance to share their experiences. It’s also a good sensory activity because people can see, touch, smell and taste the different food items.
4. If the weather is looking good, why not host a vegetarian picnic or BBQ? Here are some recipe ideas for you to try:
5. Reminiscence: Whether vegetarian or not, many people have a favourite recipe or dish that just happens to be meat-free. Those that do consider themselves veg*n will likely enjoy being able to reminisce and share with others why they follow this lifestyle. You could even print photos of common vegetarian products from years gone by, or find old vegetarian cookbooks to help get people talking.
Here’s an example of some products that one older vegetarian misses.
Some suggested questions/conversation points:
- What’s your favourite meat-free dish?
- What’s your favourite meat-free food memory?
- How long have you been vegetarian/vegan?
- Why did you choose to reduce/stop eating meat?
- How have things changed since you became veg*n?
6. Invite a VfL chef to deliver a virtual or in-person cookery demo for your residents. They’ll take the pressure off your chefs and activity co-ordinators, and plan and deliver a themed demo for you. Here’s what recent participants have said:
- “This was the first online event that I have attended. I thought it was brilliant, well presented, and the demonstrator was very likeable and did a great job.”
- “I’ve taken part in lots of video cook-alongs recently and have found them quite stressful. However, this one was really informative and easy to follow.”
7. If you’re after a novel activity for your residents, VfL runs a ‘virtual vegan lunch club’ on the fourth Tuesday of every month. It’s open to vegetarians, vegans and meat reducers, aged 65 and over. Each month follows a different theme, and upcoming events include:
- Afternoon Tea: 27 April
- Curry Night: 25 May
- Garden Picnic: 22 June.
Recipes are sent in advance. Buy your ingredients, and cook the dishes on the day ready for the Zoom chat at 1pm. Talk cookery, recipes and more, and meet likeminded people from across the UK.
8. For residents that are less tech savvy, but keen to get to know others, VfL runs a veggie pen- and phone-pals scheme. The scheme has already connected tens of like-minded people from across the UK, and many lasting friendships have been forged.
- Alison from Central Lowlands of Scotland has been a member for a while and is pleased with how well it works for her: “I love it, I really do. It’s the best thing I’ve done in a long, long time. I’ve now got a few people I speak to from the scheme and I’m delighted with how well it’s been going”
9. If you’re reading this as a caterer, get ahead of the curve with VfL’s accredited training. Topics include what veg*ns eat; plant-based nutrition and fortification; meal planning; and how to cook with alternatives to meat and dairy. Each bite-sized module includes easy-to-follow recipe videos with some fantastic, tasty recipes. What’s more, it is British Dietetic Association (BDA) accredited.
10. Meat-free 101 training is another great option – a half-day introduction to anyone new to catering for veg*ns, or those wanting fresh inspiration. An online version of this course will launch in May 2021.
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