5 Useful Tips for Sticking With a Vegan Diet When Eating Out
Staying the course with any diet can be a challenge at times, and with a vegan diet it can be even harder even though restaurants are making more vegan options available than ever before. As such, if you’re eating out, you’ll need some planning and strategising to keep to your dietary principles while enjoying your meals.
Whether you’re relatively new to veganism or have been vegan for some time, the following article is aimed at helping you stick to your vegan diet.
These five tips will help you maintain your good work and support you in your efforts to eat healthily and do good for the planet.
1. Research restaurants
One of the best things you can do to prepare before you go out is look at restaurants. Do research to ensure you’re eating at a place with vegan options. Whether you’re checking out their website or calling them directly, find out if they have dishes that are free of meat and dairy. Keep in mind certain cuisines can be more vegan friendly.
For example, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and other Asian restaurants will usually have some vegan offerings. Greek, Italian, Indian, and Middle Eastern restaurants might also be more likely to include vegan dishes on their menu. Using vegan and vegetarian apps and sites can make finding a suitable restaurant easy.
2. Look up the menu beforehand
If you’ve been invited to an event to a specific restaurant, it’s even more important to explore their menus beforehand. Discover what vegan options they have available and consider whether non-vegan options could be easily adapted to make them vegan.
Restaurants are used to receiving requests for modifying their dishes. If there’s something you like the sound of and the dish can be easily made vegan by leaving out a couple of ingredients, keep that in mind. Also it’s worth checking with the restaurant as to how they prepare their dishes. For example, make sure they don’t use the same hotplate for cooking vegan and non-vegan dishes.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask
Don’t be afraid to ask the wait staff for clarification about dishes. An item might appear to be vegan friendly, but it might turn out to have dairy in it. Not everyone understands exactly what veganism entails, and some people might assume a little dairy or eggs are okay for vegans. Sauces and dips can be most prone to containing “hidden” non-vegan ingredients, such as bits of dairy, fish, or meat that go undetected until you’ve taken your first bite.
Simple questions like whether the vegetables have been dressed in butter and the rice has been cooked in chicken stock can ensure the dishes you order are truly vegan friendly. On the other hand, some restaurants have off-menu vegan dishes, so you might like to inquire about these as well. As long as you ask politely, the restaurant will probably be more than happy to accommodate your needs.
4. Order the sides!
In most cases you can probably enjoy a great vegan meal by requesting some simple omissions or swaps. However, if you can’t, don’t panic. There’s another tip you can try. Check the sides section of the menu as this part will most likely include some vegetable-based (or bean- or lentil-based) dishes that allow you to create a filling vegan meal.
For example, you could order a salad and a couple of other side dishes and have them served on one plate. You could ask the restaurant to combine vegetables, fries, and a grain such as rice or pasta to make a filling meal. In some cases you might have to ask them to leave out the butter, cream, or cheese. Have fun getting creative with the side dishes to build your own delicious vegan platter.
5. Be clear when ordering
Be very clear about what you’re requesting when ordering, especially when you’re asking for changes to dishes to make sure they’re vegan. Don’t be hesitant about communicating to the wait staff what you want. Don’t assume everyone understands what veganism means. Instead, be specific about your request, whether it’s to leave out the yoghurt, cream, or meat. Restaurants are used to accommodating different dietary requirements. Again, if you’re courteous and take time to explain exactly what you want, they’re probably more than eager to assist you.
Don’t worry about your preferences
Although eating out as a vegan can seem a little tricky at times, it doesn’t have to be that way. By doing some research on restaurants and perusing menus beforehand, you can arrive at the eatery with the confidence of knowing what you’d like to order. Being communicative with the staff and a little creative with substituting ingredients can also make ordering vegan relatively effortless. That means you can enjoy a tasty meal with friends and family when eating out.
Would you like more helpful insights for eating out as a vegan in Singapore? Check out Quorn’s guide for vegan eaters and associated restaurants on a night out. You’ll be able to find your nearest restaurant where you can enjoy delicious meat-free meals with Quorn.