Top Tips - Dining Out on a Plant-Based Diet


Choosing to eat a whole food, plant-based diet does not mean you can’t enjoy eating out at a restaurant.

As more and more people choose to reclaim their health, many restaurants now offer healthy, delicious plant-based options. The following suggestions can help guide you to make healthy choices when dining out.

Don’t be afraid to ask! Most restaurants want you to enjoy your dining experience and will accommodate your requests. Ask for whole food, plant-based options.

Beware of oil and salt! Most restaurant meals are prepared using a lot of oil and salt. Even vegetables are typically sautéed in a lot of oil. Ask for oil-free options, or ask for vegetables to be prepared steamed or “dry” (without oil) when possible, and see if the restaurant can limit the salt.

Beware of refined grains! For pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and rice, ask for 100% whole grain options.

Get creative: Make a meal out of side dishes that typically include a variety of vegetable choices, dips like hummus, and bean and grain dishes.

Scan the menu for words like “baked,” “steamed” and “grilled.” Avoid words like “fried,” “battered,” “crispy” and “creamy.”

Salad dressings…beware! These can be loaded with oil and calories. If no fat-free options are available, then ALWAYS ask for dressing on the side and master the art of fork dipping — a little goes a long way.

Find restaurants in your area that offer healthy food options.

Eat something before you go so you’re not super hungry.

Identify the dishes that most likely to be low-fat and full of vegetables.

bassem youssef restaurant with menus for plant b

In all honesty, dining out while eating plant-based can be slightly inconvenient. And while many restaurants now offer vegan options, it’s important to minimize oil and processed foods, and choose whole food, plant-based options as much as possible. Realize that the more you eat out, the worse you’ll do with your healthy eating lifestyle. There’s no sugarcoating that fact. But when you do go out, you can make much healthier choices while enjoying your time with family and friends.