With these few tips, you'll be able to order a plant based meal from basically any menu without anxiously anticipating it.
Even if you live in an area with little - no plant focused restaurants, there's no need to stress. I got you!
If you're like me (and have worked in restaurants) you probably don't want to be "that picky person". With these tips, there's no need to ask the server and/or cook any tricky, sometimes annoying questions.
PLUS eating/ordering this way will most likely save you money!
Let's get into it...
How To Order Out Without Stressing the Menu:
1. Look at the menu before you go
If you have time, checking out the menu before you get there can relieve some anxiety. This allows you to have plenty of time to scope out your choices and decide what you want to eat before arriving. A quick google search and click on their website can be very helpful.
2. Scan the menu for any & all veggie or fruit dishes
The first thing I do when I look at a menu is go through each section just to see if/ what meatless options there are. Many menus have helpful little symbols for their vegan and vegetarian meals. Most menus, now a days, have at least one or two meatless options.
If a dish has cheese and you don't want cheese, don't be afraid to ask for no cheese! Speak up, that's really not too much to ask :)
3. When in doubt, go for the sides
The next thing I do is check out the side dish section of the menu. It's usually toward the bottom. Instead of ordering a laundry list of substitutes for the entrees, the sides section could be your best bet. Essentially, every restaurant will have some options for you there. This section can really come in handy, especially if you are struggling to find an entree with just plants. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover just how delicious and fulfilling a 'meal of sides' can be.
Don't forget, theres nothing wrong with rice & beans or potatoes & veggies for a meal. Just make sure you order enough so you have enough to eat.
This is also a money saving tip because, this is usually the cheapest section of the menu. Getting 3-5 sides will often times still be cheaper than any one entree on the menu.
4. Keep in mind, this is a lifestyle & practice, not a diet nor performance
It's important to keep in mind that you may not eat perfectly plant based every single meal and snack of every single day for the rest of your life --and thats perfectly OK! As long as the majority of the food that you eat on a daily basis is whole plant foods, your health will be much better off. Your health journey is a long marathon, not a short sprint.
When we practice, we allow ourselves room for 'mistakes', learning, and growth. If you end up getting food made with animal based butter, milk, or cheese, I want to assure you, all of your hard work is not ruined. This does not mean you've "fallen off the wagon". This does not mean you can no longer speak up for veganism or whole food plant based eating. This is simply you being a human being, flowing with your present life. Nothing to ever be ashamed of or hard on yourself about!
5. Eat what you like!
While I highly encourage continually getting out of your comfort zone... eat foods that actually sound good to you! Just because it's the "healthiest" thing on the menu, doesn't mean you have to get it. You want to make sure that you're enjoying what you're eating, not just eating it because you feel like you have to.
Pro tip for picky eaters and those with sensitive stomachs: Try mixing foods that you do like with foods that you don't like. Start with small portions of the "new" food and slowly add them in with foods/meals that you're already used to. Overtime, you may be surprised how many new foods you are able to incorporate and learn to love!
6. Stay open minded!
I could've easily made this tip #1 because its so dang important! Especially when it comes to plant food, because it's probably not like anything you've had before. Its easiest to just taste things to see if you like them, rather than base your judgement off of what you think you already know.
For instance, just because you don't like boiled plain broccoli with melted cheese that your grandma used to make, doesn't mean you wont like the marinated, seasoned, roasted & dressed broccoli appetizer on the menu. Go for it & see for yourself!
I hope this helps!
Bookmark this page to come back to it whenever you need some inspiration
& send to your newly plant based bestie :)