Eating 80/20 Plants isn’t about isolating yourself from the outside world; it’s also not about depriving yourself of the experience of socializing and dining out with others. This plan is after all designed to be sustainable and fun!
Dining out comes a whole new set of challenges.
- Dealing with peer pressure
- The temptation and craving to just slip into your old “easy” ways of eating
- The fear of standing out in a crowd and having to answer people’s probing questions
- The actual obstacle of figuring out what to order and eat.
Now, the obvious solution here is to only dine in plant-based restaurants or restaurants that have explicitly labeled dishes or vegan menus. There are apps and websites that can undoubtedly help you find a restaurant that fits these criteria, no matter where you live. When possible, this is your best-case scenario.
But let’s prepare for the worst cases.
What happens if you are out at a work dinner, or invited with a group of friends to a restaurant that you didn’t have a say in picking. It’s also quite possible that your friends and family have no idea you are on the 80/20 Plants plan. Bottom line is that you may sometimes find yourself out at a restaurant that you have absolutely no idea about.
Here are some simple tips to keep in mind:
- Look up the menu online: If you have some forewarning, your first step should be to look up the restaurant menu online. Keep an eye out for plant-based options on the menu (besides salad, obviously). If you find items clearly identified as vegan or plant-based, you’re in luck.
- Ask your server: But what if the menu doesn’t have any clearly identified vegan option or one that doesn’t seem vegan. That’s’ simple. Just smile and ask your server if they have any vegan recommendations. Most have dealt with this question many times and have great recommendations.
- Do the side hustle: If your efforts have been unsuccessful, now is the time for you to get creative. Look at the sides. You can usually find something there, which can be made into an entree size. Salads, Veggies, Beans, Soups can usually be combined into decent meals.
- Worst case scenario: Alright, assuming all of it fails and you’re just not having fun with this (or the restaurant isn’t being very cooperative and they’re leaving you with having to choose between fries and salad), time to call in your flex meal for the week. Cut your losses and pick up where you left off at your next meal.
If you remember only one thing for today: Best case: only dine-in restaurants that have explicitly labeled dishes or even entire plant-based menus. Worst case: Look up the menu in advance, ask your server for suggestions, make a meal out of sides….and when all else fails, time to cash in that flex meal!