Monday, April 1, 2013

Vegan Away From Home


When I first became vegan, eating away from home was difficult.  Mostly because I simply didn't have enough knowledge about what was and wasn't vegan, and really what I could eat as a vegan.
Now, a few years later, eating away from home is not an issue.  It just takes a little thought and planning on my part; especially because I'm trying to follow the Macrobiotic Diet.  When visiting family/friends, I do not expect them to have vegan food, especially if it's not a huge part of their diet.  I'm very fortunate though that my family makes a kind effort to have food that I can eat when visiting (thank you!) 
Over the weekend, for instance, we were working on the house all weekend; therefore, there wasn't much to eat.  I knew everyone would most likely order takeout so I brought some food of my own to keep me running.  I brought a Naked juice drink, almonds, bananas, apples, oranges, larabar, and a coconut milk yogurt.  Plenty of snack food.
I don't worry about going to restaurants anymore either.  I know there will be at the very least a salad and veggies on the menu.  Two Saturdays ago we went to Chili's and I was pleasantly surprised to learn that their black beans are in fact vegan and quite delicious.  Between the black beans, side salad, and sweet potato fries, I had a great meal.

Easter Sunday we went to Smokey Bones.  Now that definitely doesn't sound like a place for a vegan, but I had a fantastic veggie burger with fries and steamed broccoli! I go without the bun and enjoy the burger toppings - yum!

My veggie burger, fries, and broccoli out to dinner - good meal after two full days of painting the house!  That's me with a homemade cup of coffee after painting the entire upstairs!
 Of course it's always easier and healthier when I eat at home, but so many restaurants have vegan options especially Mexican, Greek, Italian, Chinese, and Japanese ones (a few of my favorite!)

Here are a few tips that I follow in order to stay happily vegan away from home:

Always, always, always come prepared with snacks - granola bars, fruit, nuts, oatmeal, bread, peanut butter, raisins
Check menus ahead of time and help pick the restaurant if at all possible.  Also, ask the waiter about vegan options once you get there.  Sometimes there are items that are not listed on the menu.  I no longer hesitate to ask if something is vegan.  I used to think I was being annoying (and maybe I am), but it's very important to me so I speak up.

Don't beat yourself up if something slips in.  Meaning if a restaurant tells me something is vegan, I'm basically putting my trust in them.  I'm sure there are slip-ups sometimes.  For example, sometimes pasta is made with egg, but if I'm getting Italian and I give it my best shot at having a nice vegan meal, I'm not going to let that detail ruin the night.  Make sense?  That being said it does bug me...even if just a bit!

That's my small piece of advice for the day and a few things that help me. 

If you're vegan, how do you eat vegan away from home?

Do you have any food allergies that makes going out to restaurants difficult?  What's your advice?


  1. I feel like half the time a restaurant is super excited to have to get creative and make a vegeterian meal, but other times they're kind of rude about it. Either way, I never feel embarassed about asking all my questions -- if someone didn't like onions, they wouldn't feel weird asking for no onions, right?

  2. I love you tips and adhere to them as a dairy and gluten eating omnivore! I think it's important to have healthy food available so you can make the food choices you want to make!

    1. Absolutely! I'm all about having the food I need with me too

  3. Eating vegan away from home can definitely be very challenging. I ALWAYS check menus before going to restaurants so that I am prepared with my options, and I always pack plenty of vegan snacks/meals. This seems to work really well for me :).

    1. Yeah it definitely takes some planning - I always try to come prepared as well!

  4. I used to feel hesitant/self-conscious too asking waiters about certain menu items, etc. whether they're gluten-free in my case...but I've gotten over it too! They're more trained now to be sensitive to dietary restrictions and are usually really friendly and helpful!

    1. I think a lot more people have vegan/GF needs now so I'm hoping it continues to be easier and more options for us are on the menus!

  5. I have a peanut allergy, so whenever we go someplace new, I have to find out whether or not they use peanut oil. Sometimes that doesn't matter because even though peanut allergies are so common and severe in most cases, some restaraunts still are not careful about cross contamination.