If you’re new to the vegan or plant-based way of life and a summer weekend of endless barbecues, cocktails and dinners, beach lunches or a night out with friends is on the cards? program, it may make you feel anxious. heart. How do you order and not seem like you are not eating, or participating without being a killjoy?
If you plan to eat out the dilemma is: what to say when the waiter or waitress takes everyone’s orders and you have to ask for the steamed spinach, no butter please, and the salad (or pizza) without the cheese? We’ve all been there, and whether you find yourself in a steak house or a lobster shack, there are ways to peruse the menu and stick to your food choices, while still feeling full.
BBQs can be tricky when the burgers hit the grill, but here are the hacks we use to get us through the days and nights of house parties and trips to the airport, picnics on the beach and walks on the boardwalk , and always have fun, eat healthy and not be embarrassed about your restrictions or food choices.
Consider this your vegan survivor’s guide to the (meat) universe, for a person who loves plants, plants or plants, editors of Beet. We share our tips on how to be plant-based in a not-so-plant world.
Lucy’s Herbal Hack
Everywhere I go (at someone’s house for dinner, a night out barbecue, or when I have people I make a large bowl of freshly chopped and mixed guacamole. Everyone loves the cold taste of avocados, drizzled with lime juice, spiced with cilantro and pepper, with finely chopped onion, over thin and salty crispy fries. This vegan classic is the perfect snack to satisfy your need for a fresh bite to refuel after a day at the beach, on the links, by bike, on foot, running or just gardening.
With around 3 grams of protein per avocado and 21 grams of healthy fats, avocados are good for your immune system and diet because they fill you up and keep you from overeating for hours after snacking on one. The fat content also seems to help your body burn fat for fuel if you don’t go for crisps, but rather with raw vegetables like endives, carrots, celery or jicama.
When traveling, you can now get it at Dunkin Donuts, which serves avocado toast! Backup plan: If you can’t find guacamole on your travels, for example when you are at the airport, just buy a small container of hummus, as it is a high protein snack made from peas chick that will always hold you back until your next chance to cook a healthy vegan meal.
Ask for an allergenic menu
When you dine out, sometimes it seems like meat and dairy restaurants don’t make enough diet choices like vegan. I want to be absolutely certain that my dish will not accidentally be cooked in butter or my salad will not be sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. After a few years of being a vegan, this tip made me feel very comfortable ordering from restaurants that don’t offer plant-based cuisine.
The best way to reduce the risk of animal products accidentally getting into your food is to ask the waiter for an allergenic menu before ordering. Restaurants are required to provide this information displayed prominently on the main menu, or as a list of dishes on a separate menu that are available without major allergens, which include dairy, eggs and fish.
In my experience, when I eat with friends and family who aren’t vegans or plant-based, this is the easiest way to signal my server that I need to take my dietary restrictions seriously. Beware of meat as it’s not a major allergen, but it’s usually pretty easy to figure out which entrees contain beef, chicken, or pork, as it’s usually in the name or description.
As a foodie, trying out new restaurants is one of my hobbies, and I’m very much aware of the unhealthy side of eating out too often. Just because I order vegan food from restaurants doesn’t mean the food is always healthy. So, I like to create my own meals at the table, even if it’s avocado toast because most restaurants use an unnecessary amount of oil to enhance the creamy texture. Or, they over-salt the food to make up for the lack of flavor. And as a little insider note, most waiters don’t bring food to the table without a little finishing salt once it’s been salted by the chef. So, I just order all the ingredients to prepare the dish at the table so that I know exactly what’s in my food. It’s my way of eating clean and always dining out.
If I’m going out for breakfast my order likes like a side of sliced avocado, plain toast without butter, a side salad, and every now and then I’ll ask for a small order of cherry tomatoes and make my own table toast and top it with the unsalted, oil-free sides. I have also found this to be very useful when eating at Asian fusion restaurants where most of the dishes are filled with salt. I’ll ask for a side dish of rice, steamed bok choy, kimchi and sliced avocado and make myself a bowl of vegan poke. If you are trying to eat clean in any restaurant, prepare the dish at the table with fresh ingredients.
Caitlin’s herbal hack
All-in on the sides
You might think that the most exciting meal in a steakhouse or seafood restaurant is a house salad, but that’s not true. The next time you are at a restaurant that is furthest from the vegetation, go straight to the sides section of the menu.
Whether you’re dining at an American or Mexican restaurant, the sides will be filled with a variety of vegetable, potato, or rice dishes. Order any vegetarian side dishes you like, like garlic spinach, roasted carrots, corn on the cob, or mushrooms and onions. If you want a bigger meal, the sides usually have a carb option like baked potato wedges or beans and rice.
Most importantly, tell your server that you are plant-based and make it clear that you want all sides to be steamed or sautéed without butter or animal products in general. If you can’t see anything on the menu that you like, don’t be afraid to ask what they can do for you. Often, restaurants are ready to adapt to your dietary needs. The best part about ordering different dishes is that overall it makes for a relatively healthy, delicious, and filling meal.
Accentuate the vegetables
Whether it’s a seafood restaurant, a steakhouse, or a fine dining restaurant, meat-based main courses usually come with an accenting vegetable. One of the hardest parts of ordering can be finding a delicious and satisfying meal. Sometimes when dragged into a meat-focused establishment, it may seem impossible to eat enough of what’s on offer to fill your stomach, but have your server put together the accent veggies for the main courses. Although sometimes the plate is a mixed bag of vegetable dishes, it looks like a tasting menu straight from the restaurant’s offerings.
I learned this trick while working in gourmet, meat-focused restaurants. For years, I had to rethink how I could eat from the existing menu with the ingredients available. I have found that the easiest way to think about the menu is what is prepared with the main courses. Most restaurants will cater to the dietary needs of the customer, and if you ask the waiter to ask the kitchen to prepare the accompanying vegetables for the main courses or starters, you will end up with a delicious, full plate that won’t disappoint. .