Even with the vegan lifestyle becoming more popular, it can still be difficult to go to a restaurant or eat out with your friends. Of course, you can go to a specific vegan restaurant, but that’s not always possible when it comes to events or budgets. Below are 6 tips vegan lifestyle tips for eating out that can help make it easier for you when you go out.
If you know where you will be eating, the first thing you should do is look up the menu online. This allows you to look and see if they have any obvious vegan options already on the menu. Hopefully, they even have a few vegetarian options where you can omit any eggs or dairy products to make it vegan. In the worst-case scenario, there may even be a dish or two that can be modified to become vegan. For example, removing the chicken from a noodle dish, or the egg from a Thai noodle dish. This can help you have a dish and avoid only eating a salad!
If you have looked up the menu, and there aren’t any obvious vegan choices you should call the restaurant. That way you can ask if any dishes can be made to fit into the vegan lifestyle, especially if there are not even vegetarian options. Additionally, you can check if they have any alternative options that are not on their standard menu. Occasionally you won’t even be able to find a menu online, in that case, you should always call the restaurant and check what your options are. Don’t feel like you are being a difficult customer, most restaurants prefer to have notice about any dietary needs.
If you are in a situation where there are no vegan meal options for you, it’s time to get creative. This may involve asking if items can be cooked in oil instead of butter, omitting cheese from things like pizza. Additionally, many restaurants offer a large range of sides that you can create an entire meal from. Just be sure to ask the staff about any hidden animal products such as stocks and butter. One example is to go with a vegetable pizza, or to look at appetizers such potato fries.
Try eating at Thai, Turkish or Mexican restaurants, as they are often restaurants with an extensive list of vegan options. These cuisines rely heavily on vegetables, beans, legumes and tofu, and often use coconut milk over cream for curries. However, you should always confirm with staff if you are unsure. For example, some Mexican restaurants use lard to cook their beans and chicken stock for the rice. Never be afraid to ask questions to confirm.
If there aren’t many options for you on the menu, or you think making a meal of sides won’t fill you up, you should have a snack before you go. This allows you to still go out and have fun with your friends but also takes the pressure off. You should also mentally prepare yourself to answer questions, as not everyone is familiar with the vegan lifestyle and restrictions.
Now, this may seem like an odd tip but restaurants are always looking for feedback. So whether it’s to let them know that you would like to see more (or any) vegan options, or if it to praise them on a meal well cooked, share it with them either after the meal or later on. Most restaurants have a section on their website where you can leave a review, or you can call them afterward to let them know. The more requests they have for vegan food, the more likely it will end up as a permanent option on their menu.
It may feel a little bit like a chore initially, but after a while, you will know which restaurants cater to a vegan lifestyle. With these vegan lifestyle tips for eating out in hand, working with limited options can also give you a new perspective and can become a fun challenge for you to create a new meal. You don’t need endless options to eat well and have a good time.