There are more vegan and vegetarian establishments in cities, townships and suburbs today than ever before. Large university campuses even support a few vegan or vegetarian food trucks. Download an app like HappyCow or visit local vegan Facebook groups to discover what is out there in your neighborhood.
Many international cuisines include multiple vegan and vegetarian selections as standard fare. Menus at Middle Eastern, Indian, Chinese and Ethiopian restaurants are among the most friendly to vegans and vegetarians. Mexican and Italian restaurants can also be vegan-friendly, especially when the chef is willing to alter the preparation to your request.
Fast food chains are steadily getting better at offering vegan and vegetarian options. While Chipotle, Taco Bell, Qdoba, and Subway offer the most choices, you can also eat vegan sliders at White Castle, a veggie sub at Quiznos or a vegan pizza at Pizza Hut. Of course, there is often also the option of vegan sides like French fries or a baked potato.
Most restaurant menus include vegetarian and vegan options — but even when they don’t, such as in some steakhouses or seafood restaurants, the chef may be willing to accommodate you. Certain fast food chains like KFC are exceptions, but they are usually easily avoided — you can often find a competing veg-friendly fast food joint located nearby.
Many grocery stores sport a large salad bar and sometimes even a hot bar with freshly prepared dishes. Whole Foods is among the most vegan-friendly, but most grocery store delis have options for vegan and vegetarian eating. Since salad bars are priced by aggregate weight, loading up on dark leafy greens is good for your health and also your wallet.
If you are one of a party going out to eat and there is no vegan option on the menu, call the restaurant in advance and let them know of your dietary choice. Besides ensuring you can enjoy your meal out that day, a restaurant responsive to customer choices will eventually add vegan items on its standard menu to not risk losing an entire party the next time.
Don’t be afraid of asking questions of your servers at restaurants when you need to, but use good discretion when waiters cannot answer all your inquiries about ingredients. It is best that restaurants think of those who order vegan meals as pleasant and generous customers they want back — so, focus on the big picture and be a good ambassador for vegan eating!