Veganism is more than just a trend, which has been garbing people’s attention for quite some time now. The vegan diet has gained widespread popularity among those aspiring to get in shape and eat healthily. On top of that, a well-balanced plant-based diet reduces the risk of chronic diseases, lowers blood sugar levels, and improves kidney function, in addition to numerous other health benefits. Given this, it comes as no surprise that more and more of us are going vegan and giving preference to Greens over meat-based products. Many world-renowned celebrities, including Ellen Pompeo, Zac Efron, and Beyoncé, have already announced their veganism and claimed a vegan diet to be a healthy lifestyle. With this shift, the increasing number of healthy, vegan restaurants also make perfect sense.
A vegan diet involves eating foods that are prepared only from plants, such as grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Not only do vegans avoid animal meat, but they also exclude all forms of ingredients derived from animals, including eggs, honey, cheese, and dairy products.
How to Eat Out As a Vegan?
In the beginning, giving up meat & animal-sourced food items and getting used to a vegan diet will seem like an absolute challenge. When at home, eating vegan is plain sailing and not tricky at all, similar to any other diet. However, it requires a bit of a mental shift to dine out in a restaurant, especially if you are traveling abroad.
We have put together some helpful tips and tricks that will put an end to your struggles when finding great vegan restaurants near you and dining out.
Get ready for delicious vegan delicacies – anywhere!
6 Simple Yet Effective Tips to Eat Out as a Vegan
1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
Being on a vegan diet does not suggest you cannot go out to enjoy a decent meal or have a get-together with your family or work buddies. The very first step involved in your journey of dining out is planning and finding a decent vegan restaurant that serves a collection of vegan food items. Most restaurants now have put their food menu on different online food ordering and delivery platforms. Just put in your location, and several vegan-friendly restaurants available in your area will pop up. In addition, many restaurants have their own dedicated app or website, which allows you to take a look at their menu in advance and place an order without having to go anywhere.
If you are new to veganism and concerned about a restaurant’s offerings, why not take a peek in the comfort of your home before you actually reach there? Learn about the restaurant and scan its menu carefully to make sure they offer vegan-friendly food items at their restaurant.
2. Check Online Reviews & Ratings
We completely understand that it is not easy to decide on a particular vegan-friendly restaurant by just looking it up online. Chances are, an establishment might be offering many vegan food items, but not all might be appealing and delicious. In that case, how would one ensure which vegan restaurant is worthy of their time and money?
Well, the internet is your best buddy here. During the hunt for vegan restaurants online, you need to pay attention to a place’s ratings and reviews, aside from checking its menu options. The feedback given by other customers serves as social proof and will help you understand their eating experience, be it bad or good. You can use platforms like Yelp and check Google reviews to see what others are saying about the restaurants and find the most popular and suggested dishes at the time.
It might be advisable to avoid a restaurant that has poor ratings and lots of negative reviews. If you notice people complaining about the quality or taste of the food items, be cautious.
3. Call the Restaurant for More Options
Do you have a night planned out with your friends or have a business meeting with your colleagues in a restaurant, and you are the only vegan person in the group? Eating out when on a vegan diet may seem like a daunting task at first, but with a bit of guidance and planning, it’s doable.
When on a vegan diet, people often get stuck on what they can’t eat instead of what they can. Before you go to a new vegan restaurant and you are not sure of their offerings, calling them ahead would be a smart move. Just because you are a vegan, it does not mean salads are your only option. With the growing demand for vegan and healthy foods, most restaurants are now willing to accommodate a vegan. Call the restaurant in advance and politely explain your situation to the host. Ask them if they offer vegan options or if there are any items on the menu that can be modified to be vegan. Doing so will prepare you in advance to avoid any surprises later.
4. Veganism vs. Vegetarianism: Know the Difference
One of the most common mistakes people make is not knowing the difference between a vegan diet and a vegetarian diet.
Scores of people generally get confused between veganism and vegetarianism and tend to think of them interchangeably. While both diets focus on consuming more plant-based foods and not meat, they are definitely not the same. Being a vegetarian means you cannot eat any kind of animal flesh and eggs but can certainly consume dairy products. Vegans, on the other hand, strictly avoid all types of meats like poultry, red meat, and seafood and animal-sourced products altogether from their diet.
When you Google “Vegan restaurants near me”, chances are, both vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants will show up in the search results. Know what exactly you are looking for and then decide accordingly.
5. Get Creative
Vegan food does not have to be bland and boring at all. Nothing is further from the truth! Contrary to what most people believe, veganism is not restricted to a diet consisting of a few leaves, fruits, and raw vegetables chopped up and served on a plate. Back in the day, no doubt, vegans had limited options to choose from if they wanted to dine out in a restaurant. But things have changed now. More and more food establishments are taking notice and enthusiastic to accept your specific requests, so the dish fits your preferences.
Many common food ingredients, such as pasta, nuts, spices, and herbs, are already vegan and the key to every delicious vegan-friendly dish. Many non-vegan and vegetarian recipes can be easily veganized by simply substituting the ingredients. For instance, you can ask the chef to replace butter with oil or leave the cheese off on your veg pizza.
All you need is to be a little creative, and voila, you can enjoy a luscious vegan meal without any fuzz. A few sides of rosemary garlic baked potatoes, stir-fried veggies, and fresh pasta would add up to a well-balanced meal.
6. Talk With Local Vegans/Vegetarians
The vegan and vegetarian community is no joke. You can find a list of vegan support groups and pages on different social media networks. Try connecting with other vegans on Facebook groups and seek their help. You can ask the local vegans within a group if they know any healthy, vegan-friendly restaurants in the area or have any good recommendations for vegan options. In addition, it’s a great way to meet new people and bond with them.
Both veganism and vegetarianism have gained quite a lot of traction in recent years, especially on social media platforms, such as Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. Due to the increasing demand for quality, plant-based food options, vegan gastronomy is on the rise. Nonetheless, deciding to eat out and searching for vegan-friendly and vegetarian restaurants can be overwhelming and difficult for new vegans at first.
The good news is that more and more restaurateurs are catching up with this healthy standard of living and opening up their menu to wonderful, delicious vegan foods. Do you know many vegan and vegetarian restaurants now offer faux-meat fast food offerings on their menu? Using apps such as Happy Cow increases your chances of finding vegetarian and vegan restaurants and dessert parlors. If you are traveling somewhere with a language barrier, use Google Translate or any other language translation app to translate and read the menu into your native language.
Remember, veganism is not a quick switch, but rather a lifestyle choice. Plan ahead of time and research the restaurant to avoid unnecessary awkward situations later. Whether you are attending family dinner or going out to have a quick drink with your friends, you don’t have to starve yourself. Use these tips and grab a scrumptious vegan meal every time.