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 🙂