Being plant-forward often means going out to eat is a bit more complicated than for the average jo. While most North Americans can find an option to satisfy their whims at a regular restaurant, those of us who decide to eat plant-based usually don't just throw that out the car window on the way to the restaurant. So, how can we make decisions surrounding our dining out experience that help us feel confident and joyful when sharing a meal out with family or friends.
#1 Be Tech-Savvy- Use Our Friend the Internet!
When it comes to dining out as a predominantly plant-eater, the internet is our friend. So many restaurants have their menus available on their websites or on Google. It just takes a few minutes to look at a menu before going to decide if they have a healthy plant-based option available to you.
#2 Be the Decision Makers
If eating out with other non-plant-based eaters, then make sure to be the first to suggest a restaurant. Pick one you have either visited or read the menu of earlier. If you want to cater to their way of eating, you can ensure there are both meat and vegetarian/vegan options. If you want to be cajoling, then bring them to your favorite plant-based location and show them the wonderful diversity that is a plant-based diet! As you decide, I also encourage you to try some of the wonderful truly plant-based (not just vegan) restaurants that are popping up lately. Whole Life Go is a wonderful example here in Calgary.
#3 Be Wise
Just because a place is "vegan" doesn't necessarily mean it is healthful. Many vegan restaurants are wonderful at making faux meat or a side that tastes exactly as its regular counterpart....and is exactly as bad for you as the original. If the restaurant doesn't have a nutrition breakdown, do your best to choose the option with the most vegetables and the least fat and salt. If there are no options, then:
#4 Be Courageous
Don't be shy to ask the waiter or chef to try and make something that suits your health fancy a little better. Ask to have your enchiladas filled with vegetables rather than cheese or meat, ask for a pizza with extra sauce and no cheese, make a meal for yourself out of sides offered, ask for salad dressing on the side (or just vinegar), or straight up ask for as little oil to be used as possible when cooking.
#5 Be Flexible
I'm a big fan of not being perfect. Anyone else here a fan? No?
Well, know that your whole health goals aren't thrown out the window if you don't have a perfect meal or if you opt for a non-plant-based dessert. Eat the best you can when at home and relax and enjoy yourself if you end up at a restaurant that doesn't have a healthy option available.
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