Becoming vegan and eating in a way that is so different to conventional diets is bound to be a challenge sometimes. Eating out in restaurants is something that can be a bit tricky if you’re not used to eating in this way, but I promise it gets easier with time 🙂
1. Firstly, if you are planning a meal out, certain cuisines are a lot easier than others. I find French and often Italian food more challenging, as there is usually cheese/butter/creamy sauces on most options, with the exception of pizzas- just ask for no cheese and get veggie toppings. Thai, Indian and Mexican are some of my favourite cuisines as a vegan. Thai/Japanese/Vietnamese etc food often has plenty of tofu as an option instead of meat, and there’s pretty much no dairy used. Since Mexican food relies heavily on beans/rice, you can still have a satisfying meal that doesn’t include dairy/meat!
2. Avoid places like typical English pubs, and places that don’t cook much of their own food. This means you will have less chance of adapting dishes to what you like. Pubs often base every dish around meat, and their veggie options aren’t great. Even if they have veggie dishes, you will be unlikely to be able to get them without cheese.
3. Plan ahead: check out the menu of the place you’re going to. If they haven’t got a website, call up in advance and find out what their veggie options are and if you can get them without cheese/cream/whatever.
4. If no main courses that can be adapted to being vegan are available, check out the sides. You can still have a decent meal if there’s hummus, veg, sweet potato fries, rice, beans, etc. Get 2/3/4 sides and POW, you’ve got a nice meal made up of stuff you actually like!
5. If there’s really no chance of adapting anything whatsoever on the menu, relax. Eat something at home beforehand and if necessary, bring snacks with you even if you don’t think you’ll get hungry- you never know! At the end of the day, eating out is a social thing- go and have fun with your friends!
Finally: watch out for animal products in sneaky places: shrimp paste and fish sauce in Asian food, yoghurt/cream in Indian curries, gelatine in desserts.
What are your tips for eating out as a vegan? What types of restaurants do you tend to go to?