I have realized, that to some people, the word “vegan” has become a dirty word. Somehow, it has become associated with extremism and judgment. It is no wonder most people have begun favoring the language “plant based.” Plant based doesn’t declare if you are 80% vegan or 100% vegan. It gives the impression that you do your best with vegetables and fruits and call the rest a day. It doesn’t sound judge-y. It sounds aspirational.
Whether you and plants have the relationship status of “it’s complicated” or you two are going serious, it can be a new way to look at the world (and all the natural things there are to eat). If you eat out a lot, consider trying some of these vegan hacks. This will give you a different perspective, even when you have to make your choices fast food choices. Rounded out per some of the typical fast food choices, consider this your cheat sheet for getting a little more fiber into your diet (and a lot more variety):
1) Starbucks. Plant-based milks are on offer here (coconut is delicious). There is also a vegan macadamia nut cookie, which isn’t exactly health food, but baby steps. According to Starbucks’ CEO, many more plant-based options are in the works. If you are hungry for something healthy, grab the guacamole as a topping for their sprouted grain bagel for something hearty and filling. More guacamole in the world is never a bad thing.
2) Taco Bell. The vegan world was aflutter when they discovered the words “fresco style.” Ask for beans rather than meat and with the “fresco style” magic power, you get pico de gallo rather than cheese, ranch sauce and sour cream. The chips are also vegan, as is the Mexican rice. In terms of fast food choices, this is considered to be one of the more delicious vegan options (there are some chains whose only vegan option is a dry bun with lettuce and onions. No thank you!).
3) Chipotle (or truly any Mexican grab-and-go place). Get a burrito or taco, load it with rice and beans and veggies and get salsa and guac. For a special treat, try the sofritas, which is organic tofu braised with roasted peppers and spices. Release yourself from the “Mexican food must be smothered in cheese” mindset. With all the sauces and flavor, you won’t even notice what is missing.
4) Olive Garden. If you ask for your sauce with no meat, you can get extra vegetables or extra pasta (although it’s not like we need more starch at the Olive Garden). No cheese? No problem. They even have an online list of vegan options if you want it to be easy-peasy.
5) Papa Johns (or truly any pizza joint with vegan crust, which is most of them). Get a pizza, leave out the cheese and meat. Ask for extra sauce, so things don’t get too dry and pile your pie high with a mountain of veggies. Garlic and dipping sauces may be vegan (read the ingredients first). Who said plant-based had to be hard?
6) KFC. The vegan chicken burger made a big splash in Canada and the UK and will likely soon be coming to the US. Until then, get the corn on the cob (without butter), the green beans and the house salad with Italian dressing. Then go home and eat a real meal from the leftovers in your fridge.
The world doesn’t necessarily make plant-based as convenient as non-plant-based. However, hacking it means more choices will become available.