Eating Out as a Vegan: 6 Tips to Avoid Eating Animal Products or Getting Hangry

There are loads of great vegan friendly restaurants popping up all over the place. I’ve been to Pure on Raw, Nourish and Italia Uno in Sheffield and was delighted with the meals. Unfortunately, not all restaurants are so accommodating.

In the past I’ve avoided eating out because I thought that I wouldn’t find anything suitable on the menu. But lots of social situations revolve around eating and it can be quite isolating if you feel like you can’t join in. That’s why I’m sharing the tips I now use to avoid eating animal products or getting hangry at a restaurant.

It’s written with vegans in mind, but these are also useful tips for eating out if you’re vegetarian, eating healthy or have dietary intolerances.

 

TIPS FOR EATING OUT AS A VEGAN

1. Look at the menu beforehand (if possible)

Checking the menu for vegan options before you go is a good idea. If you’ve already looked and picked an option then you can give your attention to whoever you’re dining with instead of trawling through the menu for something to eat. If you look and there aren’t many options then you might want to suggest going to a different restaurant (again if possible) or call the restaurant to see what they can do for you.

For example, you’ve been invited out to afternoon tea. Sandwiches can mostly be made vegan (even if you ended up with just bread and salad). Some cafes will offer vegan cakes, but if they don’t you could ring  and ask if you can take your own- so long as it’s in a sealed packed and within the expiry date they shouldn’t have a problem.

2. Don’t arrive hungry

Unless you’re 100% sure there will be lots of tasty and filling options for you then don’t arrive at the restaurant hungry- it usually leads on to hanger. I’ll often have a small snack before I go out, such as an apple or half a portion of granola.  It’s not enough to fill me up, but it stops me from getting frustrated if I can’t find a decent meal option.

3. Get creative

On the face of it a menu might look to have no vegan options, but it’s often possible to amend a dish to suit your needs.

For example, take cheese off a pizza or salad and substitute it for beans, hummus  or olives. These swaps contain protein and/or healthy fats, which can help to make the meal more satiating. You can also substitute a fillet of meat for grilled mushrooms, for example in a burger or with a sauce.

4. Lower your expectations

That way if the food is less than brilliant you won’t be disappointed. And if it’s nice then you’ll be even more impressed. Also, it’s quite rare that there are vegan dessert options so don’t get your hopes up. If everyone else is having dessert I’ll order a herbal tea or de-cafe coffee so I don’t feel left out.

5. Remember it’s just one meal

I used to be quite upset if I went out for a meal and it wasn’t very healthy, tasty and/or satisfying. But in all honesty it’s only one meal. If you don’t like it you can leave it and if you’re still hungry you can always get a snack later. It’s not worth worrying over.

6. Ask for recommendations

Asking fellow vegans or people who live locally can help you to find restaurants that meet you dietary requirements. Often people will have great stories to tell of when they visited a particular place and these can help you decide if you’d like to visit or not.

Hope you’ve found these tips helpful.

If you’re struggling to find vegan options on a menu then share the link to the menu in the comments or on facebook and I’ll suggest what I’d pick.

Stay healthy and psyched 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

22 Comments

  1. March 16, 2016 / 7:53 pm

    Great tips! Especially #2. I don’t eat vegan all of the time, especially not when I eat out because I thought it would be too difficult but this makes it seem easy 🙂

    • March 16, 2016 / 8:00 pm

      Thanks Rosie. I always think it’s better to have a snack because I can’t make decisions well when I get hungry! And if the meal I order is yummy I always find room for it all 🙂

  2. March 17, 2016 / 12:26 pm

    It is definitely helpful to look at the menu before hand so you can find an option that works for you. I find most places at least have a side dish with no meat.

    • March 17, 2016 / 12:36 pm

      Yep- I love ordering sides!! Usually get excited and order more than I can eat- you never know how big they’re going to be!

  3. March 17, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    I am not a vegan by any means. However, when I eat out, Indian being one of my favorites, offers the most veggie dishes, at least in my experience and their food is so yummy!

    • March 21, 2016 / 10:12 pm

      Ooooh! Thanks! That’s so exciting!
      Nice to learn more about you- I didn’t realise you were American.

        • March 22, 2016 / 8:06 am

          From England. It’s funny how we just assume everyone lives where we do unless it’s really obvious they don’t!!!

          • March 22, 2016 / 1:54 pm

            Awesome! It is so funny and crazy that we reach people all over the world 🙂

  4. TheSpoonMage
    April 7, 2016 / 11:59 am

    I do rather like your pragmatic approach to eating out.

    • April 7, 2016 / 12:48 pm

      Hahaha thanks. Obviously I want to go out and really enjoy my food and be inspired, but I know that’s not always going to be the case.

  5. April 15, 2016 / 2:04 am

    As someone who runs restaurants for a living, tip 5 is a home run!

  6. July 16, 2016 / 1:04 pm

    A to the point and honest post re foibles of living in an omni world- it’s all so true. Eating out was one of my biggest fears and one that delayed my transition! Good to know we’re not alone in these frustrating scenarios! Also love your invention of the word ‘hangry!’ It’s so a thing!!

    • Heathy & Psyched
      July 16, 2016 / 1:59 pm

      Hehehe – I think hangry is a real word now….
      When I first started eating only plant-based food I did feel deprived and frustrated when I ate out, but I think these tips really change how I think about meals in restaurants. Also I like to try and have a balance of going to the places my friends/ family want to eat and taking them to vegan or health food cafes which I get excited about!

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