Becoming a vegetarian: how to dine out
Some tips and advice to help a vegetarian find the meatless options

Being a vegetarian is so difficult in this whirlwind haze of Atkins and low-carb dieting. Eating out for vegetarians has become a case of ‘Which salad will I have this time?’ In some instances, you could be eating meat without ever knowing it! How can a vegetarian dine out and still remain happy?

Of course there’s always the usual appetizer meal. Cheese sticks, salads and bread are are sometimes vegetarians only options. I have made a meal entirely out of appetizers. It’s not as bad as it sounds and works well without having to go over every item in the menu piece by piece.

Pastas are a wonderful option for customizing into a vegetarian meal. Is the restaurant only selling chicken parmesan? You can order it without the chicken and voila, you have pasta parmesan. If you ask about red sauce, be sure to ask if it has meat product in it, as most tend to. They usually have a vegetarian one (or you can ask for one made for you at the cost of time) bubbling behind that noisy kitchen.

Society has always told us a meal must have meat as some sort of main dish to be considered food. But there can be an equal substitute that can still give the heaviness of a full meal made of meat on a vegetarian stomach.

Chinese places have a plethora of delicious vegetarian foods where they make fake meat. It’s not too difficult to find a wonderful restaurant that serves nothing but delicious foods, all vegetarian with some form of fake meat in it. There’s chicken and rice, with tofu chicken or bean paste meat.

For a soup in an Italian restaurant, I must say that you ask about what is being served to you. Other than that, a delicious vegetarian soup is minestrone and healthy too; but what vegetarian dish isn’t?

If you’re really interested in dining only on snacks, deep fried is the way to go to fill up fast and to still get the feel of eating something totally unhealthy like meat. Deep fried zucchini is one of my favorites. Along with cheese sticks and some cheese fries, you’re all set to go!

What about fast food though? Isn’t it a pain to try to figure out whether the chicken nuggets are vegetarian or not. Believe me, meat eaters, some are! But tried and true vegetarians shouldn’t test those waters one bit! Drive-through salad always has sugar in it, which can really lead to other health risks most people were trying to avoid by eating vegetarian. Some places offer vegetarian menus. Others have great items for only .99 cents! How about McDonald’s Apple Pie with a side of parfait? Or even better for a delicious meal, Wendy’s baked potato! Delicious, large and only a dollar!

Eating vegetarian can be difficult in public places. Food is just too good to pass up sometimes though! A hot cooked meal you don’t have to make yourself is very tempting. But what about your companions?

You must understand that other people do eat meat, so just try to ignore it if it bothers you. Tell your companion you are vegetarian and they are sure to understand. Don’t bring it up as a big topic. Keep it nonchalant. You’ll have to save the grilling Q & A’s for the waiter.

Your waiter is your best friend. He knows what everything is made out of. Do not be afraid to ask. Does this sauce have meat? Can they make it without? Can I replace the side of fish with a baked potato?

Just remember it takes time. It doesn’t always have to be hard to eat vegetarian. Be polite, ask nicely and you might even get a little extra for not eating the meat. So get your fork and dig in, the pasta is delicious!