by Sarah-Jane Bedwell
Lentil Salad with Tomato and Dill, Gourmet/Yanes, Romulo A We've all been there -- you sit down to eat at that hip new spot everyone's raving about and there just happens to be nothing you like on the menu. This is even more so of a problem for those of us going meatless, vegetarian or vegan. But restaurants are becoming increasingly accommodating to dietary restrictions, often allowing you to play around with a dish. Even if there aren't a bunch of meatless options wherever you're ordering, you'll be GTG with a few tricks and tips.
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Spruce up you salad. You don't need to be served a bed of lettuce cause you don't eat meat, ladies! Give your salad a boost by adding unique flavor and texture with extras like nuts, hard-boiled eggs, edamame, hummus, cubed tofu or chickpeas. And don't be afraid to order a couple veggie sides, too. Menus often have delicious sides that can easily amp up your meal, like roasted asparagus or garlic mashed potatoes, which can both be delicious when mixed in with your greens.
Pick other proteins. Instead of chicken, steak or fish, look for high-protein menu options that'll keep you satisfied all evening, like beans, lentils, whole-grains or tofu. Restaurants often offer meatless chili that loaded with beans (that means fiber, too!), bean burgers, lentil soup, egg-based dishes or substituting a traditional protein with tofu or tempeh. You may be surprised to find that whole-wheat pasta with tomato sauce and parm packs quite the protein punch, too.
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Get creative. Sometimes it may be as simple as just omitting the meat to make your perfect meatless meal. Don't be afraid to politely ask your waiter if he can turn that pasta with grilled chicken and peas into a vegetarian version for you. Think about basic foods that nearly all restaurant keep on hand, like potatoes. How about a baked potato loaded with fresh veggies, a scoop of beans and some cheddar cheese? Or veggie sushi with avocado? Restaurants want to make their customers happy, so don't be afraid to think outside the box and speak up!
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by Sarah-Jane Bedwell