If there were ever a hard part about being vegan, it would probably have to be eating out. Not that dining out as a vegan is difficult, it just requires some planning and a little finesse.
And don’t worry, it’s rare that you’ll have a not-so-great vegan option. In fact, usually the vegan meal has even the non-vegans drooling!
So pack these tips in your back pocket to whip out any time you venture to a new restaurant and you’ll find it easy to eat vegan at any restaurant.
Look at the menu online
If you’re like me and don’t like to leave things to chance, take a peek at the restaurant’s menu online before you arrive. If you’re an adrenaline junky and like to live on the edge, you can skip this one. Scoping out the menu beforehand will give you an idea of how much work you will need to put in to order a good vegan meal. Depending on what you find, you may need to proceed to the next tip.
Give the restaurant a ring to see what your options are. If they don’t have any dishes that are vegan, this is a great opportunity to talk it out and possibly even get the chef involved. I won’t lie, sometimes you may get saddled with a less-than-desirable meal because some restaurants treat vegans like an inconvenience. Or you may end up with something everyone else is jealous of.
Ask for something off the menu
You don’t always get to choose where you eat. That’s life. And when you’re staring at the menu and all you see is meat topped with cheese (and cheese topped with meat) it can be deflating to feel like all you can order is a house salad. Not anymore! Look over the menu and look at the different ingredients they use. Then piece together your favorite ingredients to make a meal for yourself. Restaurants are usually happy to accommodate.
Have a positive attitude
When you’re at a restaurant that doesn’t cater to vegans and your waiter hasn’t even heard the word “vegan” before, be sure to keep a positive attitude and show compassion toward the waiter. There was a point in time when you didn’t know what vegan meant either. Keep your hanger under control. You don’t want to have to worry about being served a sneeze muffin (Friends reference. Anybody?… Just me? Ok, moving on.)
Always double check
Better safe than sorry, right? Unless the menu specifically says the item is vegan, always ask the waiter to verify. Start by using the word vegan but know that you may need to explain what ingredients you don’t eat. And if that happens, do it with love and positivity. Steer clear of the animal cruelty talk. Some sneaky foods that might have animal products are salad dressing, pasta sauce, veggie burger patties and pizza crust.
These tips for ordering vegan at a restaurant should ensure you have a happy dining experience anywhere you go. Do you have any other tips you like to use when you eat out? Share them in the comments below!