Tips for Eating Out
Eating breakfast out can be tricky. It is probably the meal that has the least plant based options in a typical restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, there are restaurants that have great options, especially in cities like San Francisco and New York. So this may not be much of a problem for you depending on where you live. The suggestions below are for when you find yourself in a restaurant, or airport cafe that offers very limited options.
- Oatmeal is usually a good and readily available choice. Just ask for an alternative milk (most places at least have soy) and make sure they have not added anything like cream cheese. If it doesn’t come with fruit ask if they can add some for you. Berries and a banana are usually available.
- The same thing goes for granola or cereal. Just try to avoid yogurt and sugary cereals as much as you can.
- You can usually get some Whole Wheat toast. Skip the butter and just have a bit of jam.
- Always look at the sides. You can usually find a few fruit options. Fruit and a few pieces of toast does not a stellar breakfast make, but it will do the trick if your options are limited.
Some good chains that have healthy plant based breakfast options:
Lunch & Dinner:
There are plenty of tasty healthy lunch and dinner options when you eat out. Here are just a few things to keep in mind if you find yourself looking at a menu without any clear veggie options:
- Vegetable Burritos. From higher end restaurants to corner taco stands, veggie burritos are usually delicious and packed with a variety of vegetables. Include beans and guacamole and you’ve got yourself a very tasty, satisfying lunch. For example at Balboa Café, they have a breakfast burrito on the menu. I ask them to remove the eggs and chorizo and sub in any veggies they have on hand. I ended up with a delicious burrito of potatoes, black beans, guacamole, salsa, mushrooms and spinach (you may want to make sure the beans are not made with bacon fat or something else animal based).
- Veggie wraps or sandwiches. Restaurants will usually make a veggie wrap or sandwich even if it’s not on the menu. Scan the menu for veggies available in other dishes and point out those you would especially like. Ask if they can add hummus or avocado as a spread.
- Veggie Pasta or Grain. Again most restaurants will be happy to make you a veggie pasta or grain dish. If they have a pasta or grain on the menu then you can definitely ask them to do a veggie version. The restaurant staff is usually very happy to oblige and deliver a delicious vegetable based dish.
- Pizza: First look for a veggie pizza and remove the cheese. I know this doesn’t sound that appetizing now but I promise it’s tastier than you think. If there are no veggie pizzas on the menu then scan the menu for vegetables and ask if the chef will make you one with some of these veggies. Here’s a good example: At the Brickyard there is a Mushroom & Shaved Parmesan pizza with bechamel sauce, truffle oil and herbs. We ask them to sub a red sauce for the bechamel and leave off the parmesan. It is really delicious!
- Always look at the sides. At the very least you should be able to put together a vegetable based dinner by combining three or four sides. If there is no grain option in the sides scan the menu for grains they may have on hand: brown rice, quinoa etc.