Years ago it was pretty difficult to eat out as a Vegan, you usually got the choice of salad, salad, salad or the old staple… stuffed bell pepper. Thankfully times have changed, and the plant based diet is more popular than ever before as not only celebrities but athletes start to embrace the Vegan lifestyle. And while not impossible to eat out as a Vegan it can sometimes be challenging. My preferred restaurants are vegan or have vegan options firmly on the menu, however sometimes you have to get creative so I’m sharing my top tips for eating out when on a plant-based diet. You can see a full day of eating below (where I mostly eat out), or on my YouTube Channel.
In the vlog I show you eating out at Whole Foods (easy) and Red Robin as a vegan. It can be challenging to eat out as a vegan but if you plan ahead you can definitely avoid stumbling blocks along the way, and follow these tips for staying meatfree while eating out!
5 Tips for eating out as a Vegan
- #GOVEGAN – Obvious but, try a vegan or vegetarian restaurant. Seriously they are popping up everywhere now, which is freaking awesome. Some of my favorites in the Los Angeles area are: Follow Your Heart, Real Food Daily, Native Foods, Veggie Grill, Gracias Madre, and Joi Cafe. Check your local area for vegan restaurants in your area. They are popping up everywhere!
- DO YOUR RESEARCH – The internet is your friend. If you know ahead of time where you are going you can find ANYTHING online. That includes meatfree options at some of your favorite restaurants. Eating out vegan can be made super easy with just a little time on the internet. Google is also your friend if you’re travelling. Google “Disneyland Vegan” and you’ll find a ton of blog posts on plant foods at the park. Yes there is a vegan burger available, plus pasta, and pizza, fruit, and snacks.
- GET CREATIVE – most menus these days have vegan options. Or at least vegetarian options that can be veganized. However if you do get stuck then get creative. Substitutions are your friend too. For example: at Natural Cafe the buddha burrito and black bean enchiladas can be veganized by simply omitting the sour cream and cheese, and they will usually ask if you want more guacamole instead! Bonus!
- BRING IN A SUBSTITUTE: Don’t get caught up in what isn’t available, get creative and substitute. At Red Robin you can sub a Boca patty on any burger! Jinky’s let’s you sub a Gardein patty for most entrees. Hugo’s let’s us substitute their meatless burger or balls for meat products. If they have one vegan option play around with it by substituting sides to make it less boring.
- SIDE BY SIDE: If there is definitely no plant based entree available then check out the side dishes as options for meatfree foods. Side dishes like baked potato, with black beans and a garden salad… BOOM vegan meal! Yes it might mean making the most of a poor situation but hey it’s better than starving!
- GET CULTURED – We often kid that in a past life we were Indian because we eat a LOT (and I mean a LOT) of Indian food. Many indian dishes are vegan, just check for no ghee (butter) or milk. Same with Thai, Chinese and Ethiopian etc. So many great choices, all have vegan options available. As I mentioned about the burrito and enchiladas, lots of mexican food can be vegan, just substitute!
- ASK – There is a saying that you get nothing if you don’t ask. This is so true with vegan food in mainstream restaurants. Not sure something is ok? ASK! Some foods have ‘hidden’ dairy or eggs so make sure to ask if it’s not a vegan restaurant or doesn’t say on the menu. Some vegetable soups can be made with chicken stock for example making them not vegan. Never be afraid to ask!
- PLAY HIDE AND SEEK: This goes back to research and asking but some restaurants have hidden menus! Unless you know, then you are outta luck! A couple of places in the UK had specialty diet menus (los iguanas) so again – research! Don’t just rely on the menu in front of you. Get online, get to know your wait staff, and if all else fails…
- CHALLENGE THE CHEF – A good chef will rise to the occasion if there is no vegan option at all on the menu and prepare you something delicious!
So those are my top tips for eating out as a Vegan, if you have any more let me know in the comments.
What’s you’re favorite place to eat out?