I have never been on a 100% raw diet, and never will be, but I do know how challenging it can be to stay raw when dining out at restaurants.
This becomes even more of a challenge when the people you’re dining out with aren’t on a raw or vegan diet at all, and can eat all those yummy things on the menu.
So how best to deal with this? In this article I am sharing my insights and some concrete tips to keep eating raw when dining out.
6 Tips for Eating Raw at Restaurants
Hopefully the following 6 tips can offer you some reassurance that dining out at restaurants and being on a raw food diet can go hand in hand nicely.
1. Pick the Right Restaurant
Picking the right type of restaurant is important, especially if you are going with people who aren’t all raw or who don’t know you’re raw.
The idea is to go for a type of restaurant that has salads. Or at least some sort of non-cooked vegetable options. This usually rules out some of the Indian, and Asian restaurants. Those tend to have vegetarian or vegan options (great if you’re not 100% raw) but not so many raw options.
I recommend you check out Italian restaurants, steak joints (really!), Mexican restaurants (for guacamole), and other restaurants that happen to serve salads.
I tend not to enjoy restaurant salads if they are “cheaper restaurants” because then you get a few pieces of iceberg lettuce and two non-ripe tomato slices on top. (Think truck stop restaurants here)
But with most higher end restaurants, or steak houses, you’re going to be getting some quality veggies.
2. Skip the Mind Games
Now the tough part when it comes to ordering at a regular restaurant is not getting caught up in your mind games.
What do I mean by that?
It’s something that I’ve noticed happening in my own mind quite a few times, and that other people seem to pick up on.
When you look at the menu, you’ll be tempted to say:
“Screw it, I don’t have to eat raw tonight!”, and just order something else to fit in or reward yourself. (Rewarding yourself with food is another blog post altogether!)
If you do order a salad and other people ask you questions like:
“Don’t you feel like having something else? Aren’t you sick of eating salads?”
You’ll start feeling left out, kind of down, or just plain jipped.
I seriously encourage you not to fall into that trap. The truth is that every time I order a salad at a decent restaurant, I’m really happy with it.
3. Double Your Salad Order
I once ordered two “house salads” and asked them to be put into one big bowl. The waitress asked if I was really sure about that… she probably didn’t get that request very often.
The house salad was about half the price of a regular entree, and to me it made sense to just double it and have a full meal. It turned out great, I felt satisfied, and I got lots of really great tasting greens.
4. Add Extra Veggies
Another great option is simply asking for vegetables that you see in other dishes or salads to be added to your green salad.
If you see that they have avocado in a sandwich, and they have red bell peppers as part of another dish, you can just ask them to throw some of these into your basic salad.
That adds bulk and really makes it a fuller meal for you. Sure, it might cost you a bit more but most salads tend to be on the less expensive side of the menu anyways.
5. Feel Good About Your Choices
You will often worry that you’re going to want to eat what other people have ordered.
It’s just your monkey brain trying to convince you that your life isn’t perfect, and that you should be doing things differently.
The truth is that when you focus on the present moment, and commit to enjoying every bite of what it is you have in front of you, you really don’t have to care what other people order.
Now when people imply that the restaurant doesn’t have any good raw options, you can say that you’re really happy with your order.
6. Enjoy Your Company!
Remember that most of the time when we meet up with others at a restaurant, we are doing so to connect with people.
To enjoy each other’s company. To get to know each other. To share stories, laugh, and really treasure each other.
It shouldn’t be all about the food, though that can be fun too.
So the next time someone invites you out to eat, do a little research about the type of restaurant that has salads you might like, and go for it.
Enjoy your time together, and make the most of the present moment. It’s the only one you’ve got!