There’s no doubt that eating out as a vegan poses some challenges, particularly in a country where veganism is still not highly accommodated for. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learnt over the past year or so which I think might help people who are new to veganism and find social events an issue. These tips might be particularly useful for vegans whose friends/partners are not vegan, and so might find it hard to mutually agree on a certain restaurant when eating out.
- Eat before going to an event
Although this might not be the most convenient socially (and does not apply to going out for lunch/dinner), I’ve found it useful to eat before certain events such as evenings on the beach, parties, or occasions where my friends would be likely to grab a bite to eat at some fast food place.
- Prepare your own food and take it with you (and pack snacks)
Again, this doesn’t apply to going out for lunch/dinner, but rather for casual events such as going to the beach. I used to be shy to do this at first, but once you explain your reasons for bringing your own food to the people you’re with, it’ll be just fine! Plus, this would help you save some money too.
- Check out restaurant menus beforehand
This way you can see if any vegetarian/vegan options are available, and if not, you can see whether or not you can adapt certain items on the menu so as to make them vegan.
- Call the restaurant beforehand
Many restaurants which don’t offer vegan options will make you a vegan dish if you just call them a few days in advance and ask them to prepare you something which is vegan
- If there are absolutely no vegan options….
Look at the vegetarian options, and ask to have them without cheese! Vegan options aren’t the norm on menus in Malta, so I tend to do this a lot. Restaurant staff have always been super friendly and accommodated to my needs.
- If there aren’t even vegetarian options…
This is rarely the case, as the majority of restaurants do accommodate for vegetarians. In this case however, you can always ask for a certain dish and ask to replace the meat/chicken with extra veggies. Alternatively, have a look at the “sides” section of the restaurant menu. The majority of sides are in fact vegan, so don’t be shy to just order a few side dishes (such as boiled veggies, salads, potatoes, etc.) and ask for an extra plate!
Eating out might be challenging at first if there aren’t many vegan friendly restaurants in your area, however it gets easier as you get more used to it, so don’t let it put you off! Always keep in mind your vision and your reasons for deciding to try out veganism/go vegan, and that it is entirely your choice to do this, so don’t see it as a restriction! If anything, eating out while being vegan has helped me personally to become more creative with my food combinations and options, and I’ve found it’s also helped me to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to asking restaurant staff to modify certain dishes on the menu!
I hope these tips are useful!