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How can I follow a vegan diet at restaurants?


The best sources of protein for vegans are legumes, which consist of beans, peas and lentils.
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Many restaurants are offering more and more vegetarian and vegan options, which is great for guests eating a plant-based diet. Vegetarian options at restaurants are usually easier to identify (no meat, fish or poultry) than vegan items (no meat, fish, poultry, dairy and/or eggs), but most restaurants are happy to accommodate such special requests as “no cheese” to make your meal vegan-friendly.  When looking for vegan menu choices, the best sources of protein are legumes, including beans, peas and lentils.  Try garbanzo beans, black beans, soybeans, pinto beans, etc.  Many ethnic restaurants, from Thai to Indian to Japanese, offer vegan dishes that include tofu and legumes. 
 
Pizza and Mexican restaurants often invite you to customize your favorite meal by removing cheese or even substituting a soy-based cheese.  Depending on the extent of your vegan diet, you might want to check to see if the pastas, pizza crusts, and tortillas contain animal products, such as lard, eggs, or milk. Salads that contain beans are also a great choice when paired with oil and vinegar-based dressings such as vinaigrette, splashes of fruit juice such as lemon and orange, or even fresh salsa.  Vegetable soups can also be a good option, especially if they contain beans.  Don’t hesitate to ask your server if a certain dish is made with animal- based ingredients such as milk, cheese, butter, chicken or beef broth, or lard.

If you are out and about, try some of these Healthy Dining approved vegan dishes:

Very Vegan Pizza on Multi-Grain Crust (2 Slices of a Large Pizza) at Pizza Fusion
(350 calories, 15 g fat)
Located in CO, FL, NJ, NC, OH


Stefan’s Vegan Burger at Brookfields
(480 calories, 12 g fat)
Located in Sacramento, CA area


Berkeley Vegan Pizza on Wheat Dough (1 slice of an X-large) & Salad at zpizza
(330 calories, 11 g fat)
Located in AZ, CA, CO, DC, GA, HI, MD, MN, MO, MT, NC, NV, NY, OH, TX, VA, WA


Vegan Fetti Salad at Brodo
(200 calories, 4.5 g fat)
Located in Philadelphia, PA
 

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