At first look, eating out on a plant-based diet seems daunting. Most of the food on the tables you walk by contain meat or other things you can’t or choose not to have. Don’t fear though – with a little creativity and attention-to-detail, it is easy to get the food you want without compromising your diet. Here’s how.
If you know where you will be dining, check their menu online in advance of leaving work or home. Scan the menu looking for meals or entrees listed as vegan or vegetarian. Most of the larger chains have a few choices listed on their menu.
If you don’t know where you will be dining or are in an area unfamiliar to you, look for types of ethnic food known to be whole food, plant-based, such as Asian, North African, Indian and Mexican. The food from these cultures tend to use a lot of vegetables, beans, rice and whole grains making it easy to put together a lunch or dinner.
Also included in a plant-based diet are starches and fruits – a major source of calories as vegetables typically don’t contain many. Tubers, starchy vegetables, whole grains and legumes are all fair game and recommended. If certain ingredients are off limits, be sure to ask how a dish is prepared and ask to withhold any ingredients not on your diet.
Another option is to seek out a venue known to have a salad bar; it is always easy to craft a meal from the options available. If none of the above work, choose a couple of plant-based side dishes such as beans and rice for your meal. You can always find salad; most places have at least a side or dinner salad if not a salad choice as a main entrée.
If it comes with meat, cheese or egg that you don’t want, ask the waitress to leave these items off. Also if you want a balsamic vinegar-based dressing, ask for it on the side so you can control how much you use. Most restaurants are more than happy to comply with your requests.
If stopping in at a specialty place known for a certain food, such as burgers, ask if they have a veggie burger. Many of the chains do as well as the “mom and pop” places.
Eating out while on a plant-based diet is not that difficult – especially now that restaurants are becoming more vegan/vegetarian conscious. Today, it does not mean compromising your diet.
By the Urban Life Center Team