Tara’s 10 Tips for enjoying eating out as a vegetarian:
- Do your research before leaving home: call ahead, go to the restaurant’s website, read other people’s reviews.
- Ask for the vegetarian menu: many restaurants have a “hidden menu” for dietary restrictions … just ask!
- Speak up for yourself: This will be your best defense against getting meat in your food while eating out. Communicate your needs and ask for substitutions.
- Watch out for sneaky ingredients: oyster sauce, chicken or beef broth, lard, gelatin, and bacon are all very common to be added in during food prep but not listed on the menu.
- Know the codes: usually a V or a leaf or something green indicates a vegetarian dish but still ask about the sneaky ingredients.
- Make appetizers your main meal: Many restaurants offer more veggie friendly appetizers and sides but can be limited on vegetarian dishes for the main course. It is your meal … customize it the way you like!
- Get used to different flavors: ethnic cuisine is your very best friend as a vegetarian eating out. Everything from Indian to Mexican to Thai to Italian and more. There will be new and interesting flavors but at least it isn’t the flavor of meat!
- Try (at all costs) to avoid eating at a seafood restaurant: you really can’t win here. Pasta boiled in water stirred with the ladle from the fish chowder, French fries fried in the bucket with the fish nuggets, veggies grilled with the shrimp. It all tastes and smells fishy. Not a good place for a vegetarian. Avoid if possible.
- Pre-eat if you need to: you are invited to a dinner party … yeah! Well … you absolutely love your brother-in-law but he loves every kind of grilled meat on the planet … probably not going to be a lot of food for your save-the-animals-from-the-grill family …. still happy to go but feed everyone before you leave the house …
- Remember you are not alone: gluten intolerance, nut allergies, lactose intolerance, shellfish allergy, no dye, no oil, no lemon, no peppers, on and on … you are not alone! Prepare, research, ask, substitute, check, and enjoy eating out while remembering that nothing needs to lose its life for you to eat so … enjoy!
That is how this vegetarian family enjoys eating out … what about yours?