1.) Get used to the question, “then what CAN you eat?”
When you say you are following a plant-based diet, everyone will suddenly forget that if they are eating a balanced diet the majority of their plate should be plant-based. Vegetables, starches, salads, fruits, etc. are all available to you if you are sticking to a strictly plant-based diet. In response to the inevitable questions you will receive from those around you, you can decide to educate them with the facts or just tell them you chew on grass like rabbits and cows.
2.) When going out to eat, do your research.
Do an online search for the menu online prior to going out with friends and family, so that you already have your plan of attack to customize the menu and navigate around. There is nothing worse then trying to find something to eat under pressure and having the carnivores at the table recommend things to you that you clearly won’t eat! If there are no entrée options, load up on veggies from in the “sides” section or order a pasta dish with veggies, garlic and oil. And if you’re modifying an order that normally had cheese in it, don’t be afraid to tell the waiter or waitress that you have a dairy allergy. Your nose might grow a few millimeters but you certainly won’t have any diary on your plate!
3.) Get appy.
There are so many vegan and vegetarian restaurants around, with more and more opening each day. Use the Happy Cow app to stay up to date with all of the plant-based restaurants in your area.
4.) Fail to prepare and prepare to fail.
You guessed it! Food preparation is key to staying on track with any diet, including plant-based diets! While fruits, veggies, and starches are readily available on the run, plant-based protein sources are not so easy to locate when you are out and about. Baked tofu, tempeh, or seitan are great plant-based proteins to bring with you to add to meals when necessary. You can also bring your own meals complete with veggies and starches. Preparing meals and bringing them with you to work can save a lot of time (and money!) searching for lunches that will satisfy you. This will also allow you to manage your food intake, ensuring that your meals include enough protein for a well balanced diet. Note: If you are calculating your macros to hit certain goals, then this is mandatory!
5.) Just keep snacking, just keep snacking…
But wait, food prep? Ain’t nobody got time for that…If you don’t have enough time to prepare meals in advance, are just plain too lazy to do so, or are going to a social event where you don’t want to be breaking out the tupperware, you can always bring protein packed snacks with you such as plant-based protein bars or protein powder packets for on the go eating. Peanuts, almonds, cashews, hemp, chia, and sunflower seeds are also great (and easy!) additions to any meal. In addition, easy to eat fruits like bananas and apples are great snacks to keep you from snacking on other not-so-healthy options in-between meals.