Your guide to eating out with non-vegans
You may be new to the vegan lifestyle and feel unsure about what to expect when eating out, or when making plans with non-vegan friends or family, you’re often worried about feeling like the ‘difficult’ one - we get it. To help us all focus a little more on the joy of eating out, we’ve put together a simple guide to ensure you can overcome any hurdles that may come your way.
If you’re the initiator of plans, then you’re already onto a winner. This way, you can make sure that you don’t just get stuck with sides, proving that vegans can enjoy eating out just as much as anyone else. By initiating the plans and inviting others, they might even feel inclined to try something vegan in your company!
Be proactive with suggestions
If it's more of a group decision, then make sure you’re proactive in suggesting places to go and are inclusive for everyone. Remember you don’t necessarily have to go somewhere specifically vegan - there might be somewhere on your radar that you’ve been meaning to try, or a simple search using guides like Happy Cow will help you find places that cater for everyone. Chain restaurants and cafes are also great as a lot of places now include a range of vegan options and offer a zero-fuss range of cuisines to choose from.
Approaching difficult conversations
By now, your friends/family should know and respect your dietary requirements and make plans to accommodate them. But you may come across people who just don’t wish to understand veganism or question why you can’t “just order like the rest of us”. It’s frustrating, but we can come prepared! With our guide to common misconceptions about veganism, you can serve up some spicy responses to their questions and ensure dinner isn’t spoilt.
Perhaps you’ve been invited to dinner with new colleagues or your friend-of-a-friend’s birthday and they’ve already booked somewhere non-vegan - don’t panic! If you’re not sure what will be available to you on the day and you want to avoid making a fuss, we recommend ringing the restaurant ahead and see if they can make some sort of arrangement for you - it's not uncommon for dishes to be adaptable and easily made vegan. Often people are more than happy to help if you give them enough time to prepare in advance!
Go for sides
In a spontaneous situation where calling ahead isn’t possible, then we can (nearly) always rely on sides to save the day. Most places will offer sides such as chips, vegetables and salads, and depending on the cuisine, something more exciting is bound to be available. By ordering a few side dishes together, we can make a classic vegan make-shift meal. Voila!
If all else fails…
Fuel up on some of your favourite food before heading out, and stick to the cocktails!