Without a doubt, one of the hardest parts of being on a whole foods and vegetarian diet is trying to maintain your eating habits when you dine out. Even though more people are adapting alternative, healthy eating styles, many restaurants have menus that are primarily based upon meat-eating diets. So it can take some real planning to eat out and stick to your vegetarian diet. Still, with some planning, you can still enjoy a meal out without leaving your desired eating style.
One situation that can be difficult to navigate is going to a barbecue. This traditional American pastime is one that is firmly based in a meat-eating culture. To get through a barbecue, consider bringing your own food to grill. If you eat meat-substitutes, Boca burgers or tofu dogs are two options that you may want to think about. An even better choice would be some vegetables that are easy to grill such as squash, potatoes, or corn. Bring a few extra vegetables in case someone wants to give them a try. Who knows? You might be able to help someone to develop a more vegetarian diet.
So what if you’re going to a banquet where there are often no vegetarian dining options. First, before the event, look the facility up online to see if a menu is posted on their website. This is pretty common these days. IF you find the menu, go through all sections to see what’s possible. For instance, look at the appetizers as well as a ala carte dishes and be flexible to create your own meal. If you can do this planning ahead of time, you’ll know what you can order before you get there.
If you can’t decide ahead of time, when you get to the event ask your server to ask the cooks to create a basic and easy vegetarian dish for you. Think about food items that are commonly found in restaurants and you may be able to get them to create you a dish that you will enjoy. Baked potatoes and steamed vegetables are two types of foods that are commonly in the kitchens of banquet halls, so you might want to try to base a dish off of them. Pasta is another common option that you may want to ask about if you eat gluten.
If you have an option on where to go out to eat, consider opting for some type of ethnic cuisine. Typical American fare tends to be more focused on meats than diets of other cultures. So you could consider Thai food or Indian food in order to ensure that your vegetarian needs will be easily met by the restaurant staff with a minimum of difficulty.
Fortunately, more restaurants are beginning to offer vegetarian-friendly options. Even fast food restaurants are beginning to offer veggie burgers or vegetable based dishes making it quite easy for a vegetarian to dine in compliance with their diets while on the go.
Without a doubt, it is much easier to maintain a diet that contains meat than it is to stick to a vegetarian diet when eating out. But all is not lost. With a bit of planning ahead of time and the willingness to be creative and flexible, it’s very possible to easily find ways to stick with your vegetarian way of eating and enjoying your dining out experience.