Eating out as a vegan can feel like a difficult task, especially in a group where you may be the only one. You probably don’t want to draw attention to yourself when ordering, but you don’t want to leave the restaurant feeling hungry. Here are a few tips to having a seamless and enjoyable outing with friends while still maintaining your healthy lifestyle.
- Ask for a vegan menu—Restaurants are increasingly offering more options to those with dietary restrictions but may not always offer the altered menu up front. Very often if you just ask, they will deliver. And servers are trained now to know the vegan options and the gluten-free options.
- Order sides—If the restaurant doesn’t offer a vegan menu, get creative and order some sides; chances are you can create a balanced and nutritious meal. Make sure to ask that they hold any butter and/or cheese.
- Plan ahead—Look the restaurant up online and read through the menu. If you don’t see any dishes that you would eat or that you can easily alter, give the restaurant a call and see what they can do to accommodate your needs. When you warn the kitchen of any alterations ahead of time, it makes it easier for them (especially on a busy Friday or Saturday night) and you feel like less of a liability. And the chefs sometimes love the challenge or preparing a vegan meal. So if you humble yourself and allow the restaurant to accommodate you, they usually will.
- Choose the place—If you’re going out with just a friend or a small group, and you know they’re flexible or not too fussy then suggest a restaurant of your choice that you know is vegan or will have vegan options. Very often non-vegans are pleasantly surprised at the exciting and different flavors dishes at vegan restaurants offer.
- Eat ahead of time—If you know there’s nothing or very little on the menu that you can order or alter, eat a meal or a snack before you go out, and order something small or a beverage at the restaurant. Going out with friends is about enjoying the company and the atmosphere; you don’t have to be hungry!
Share with us what do you do when going out to a non-vegan restaurant as a vegan!