The phrase “fast food” tends to relate to hamburgers, fries, hot dogs or fried chicken. Going out to eat at places like Mcdonald’s, Burger King, or Kentucky Fried Chicken with family or friends can be a big challenge if you’re a vegetarian. While you have your plans and know what to look for, you may be surprised at the options you have to eat.
It is important to note that there could be variations from one country to another. While it may be easier in one country, it may be harder in others to find vegetarian options in fast food restaurants, depending on factors such as, how strong is the vegetarian movement or the availability of catering to vegetarians. And although this article has some tips for vegans, it is difficult to find vegan options due to food restriction.
Fast Food Restaurants with Vegan Options
Take advantage of the healthy menu options. Search beyond the common places where they serve salads. For those in the United States, some great examples to explore include:
1. Taco Bell
Have you ever noticed that many ingredients of delicious Mexican food are also vegan? Beans, potatoes, tortillas, guacamole and rice in Taco Bell do not contain animal products, so basically anything can be made vegan. The easiest way to order vegan in the chain is to replace the meat with beans (at no additional cost) and asking for “fresh style”, so that the cheese and sour cream will be replaced with pico de gallo.
Let’s look at a few Menu options thus:
Replace the meat with beans and remove the sour cream and cheese. You can also add rice, potatoes, guacamole and red sauce to give it more flavor.
Ask for beans instead of meat and say the magic words “cool style”. Add guacamole to make the tacos extra delicious.
Replace the meat with beans and remove the cheese. Add guacamole or take it home and put it in the microwave with a little vegan cheese on top.
Starbucks offers pita sandwiches, scones, muffins, all available in the United States. You can replace the traditional cow milk with soy, coconut or almond milk.
New options include; Vegan Wrap with Falafel & Slaw and a Jalepeño Kale & Slaw Wrap. New dessert options include Vegan Chocolate & Raspberry Cake (a chocolate cake with raspberry and chocolate frosting, topped with dried raspberries) and a Mango with Lime Fruit Pot.
Subway and Quiznos are highly recommended restaurants for vegetarians. You can consume sandwiches with all kinds of vegetables. First decide if you will order a salad or a sandwich. If you order a sandwich, order the Veggie Delite and go to step one. Do you prefer a salad? Order the Veggie Delite salad and go to step two.
You can choose one of these bread options:
- Hearty Italian
For the vegetables, here are some great options;
- Red onion
- Green peppers
- Add guacamole or avocado
Subway has the following sandwich options (vary in each branch):
- Apple slices
- Lay brand fries
- SunChips Original
- Baked potato chips Lay brand
4. Pizza Hut
Ask for the normal sauce or the sweet for pizza and the masses Thin’N Crispy or the Hand-Tossed (some of the others are not vegan). Go crazy with vegetable toppings!
Bono: the mass of the desserts is also vegan! Other new additions include the classic margarita; one with avocado and vegetables; and one with assorted vegetables and spicy sauce.
Domino’s pizza can leave you completely satisfied. You will get countless variations with vegan toppings. Vegans should know if the pizza contains eggs.
For vegans, the new McDonald’s hamburger is a great option. It is a vegan sauce specially created for the occasion and served in a completely vegan bread without milk, eggs or butter. It is made with soy, which is accompanied by tomato, lettuce, pickled pickles.
7. Burger King
This restaurant offers vegetarian burgers that include vegetables or you can order the classic Whopper burger without meat (only with vegetables, bread, and condiments).
Other places where they include food for vegetarians are Hard Rock Coffee, Denny’s, Chili’s, Johnny Rockets, Ruby Tuesday, and Red Robin.
8. Dunkin Donuts
Most Dunkin Donuts are vegetarian, but not totally vegan; Be sure to check what you are ordering. Their bread contain an ingredient derived from duck feathers. The L-Cysteine protein makes these bread not suitable. So make sure that if you are vegan do not consume it.
Easy Hacks to Order Vegan
Let’s look at a step by step guide that would help you as a vegan when ordering food in big fast food chains.
1. Prepare to help the waiter
If you already have a good idea about what you can actually do to change the food options from a non-vegetarian to something vegan, do not be afraid to share your idea and describe how possible it is. The waiter or server may be difficult to convince but explain clearly, be friendly, and talk to him in a subtle manner about your suggestions. An excellent option is to order a vegan appetizer accompanied by portions of cooked vegetables. Ordering a special appetizer is not much to ask compared to a normal-sized meal course.
- You shouldn’t be afraid or feel shy to ask the manager some questions. Show confidence! After all, being a client, you can actually ask for the specific ingredients of a meal. For those foods you can cook such as the French fries, you can ask if they use the same oil as with the meat. They can also help you find certain foods that are vegetarian and that are probably not listed on the menu. Ask about salads, for example, salads with cooked eggs.
- You need to be more assertive in this case and always maintain your firm position but in a kind and modest manner.
2. Keep a wide range of fast food options
Fast food is not only found in large franchises like Mcdonald’s. Other places where they serve dinners or fried food also offer you fast food options, from Chinese to Mexican. And if they are in your locality then, it’s possible that they will know you better. Hence, they will be more than happy to cook something special. So, it’s good that you make friends with the owners.
3. Keep in mind the things you should be careful about
Knowing what to avoid when you eat fast food is very important. When you walk into any fast food, there are things you should look out for in those diets. Let’s look at them thus:
What is used to fry food? Beef fat, chicken butter, or some other fat derivative is used, if that is the case you will not be able to eat. This affects everything from potato chips to donuts.
Jelly, and all this kind of food. See the gelatin in food products, from cheesecake to your shake. Some condiments may also have gelatin.
If you cannot consume milk or milk products and prefer soy drinks, keep in mind that some beverages may contain dairy products.
Was margarine or animal fat used? The cheapest food is often made with animal derivatives such as margarine or fat because it keeps costs down, this impacts the food including pizza, pasta, and cakes.
Sauces and dressings with meat and fish flavor:
Many condiments may contain fat, oil, and flavor from animal sources. Avoid dressings in salads and other condiments if you are not sure they are vegan.
The place where it is cooked:
If the food is cooked on the same grill, in the same stove where the meat is cooked, then there is a great risk of contamination. For example, it can be difficult to keep meat away from vegetables if both are cooked at the same time.
4. Enjoy the breakfasts
Much of the food at breakfast is healthy, and it can be a good choice for vegans. This time of day is not very easy for vegetarians since breakfasts carry eggs and dairy regularly. So, it is important that you look for breakfast with fruit and oatmeal. Some great breakfast options include but not limited to;
Fruit Parfait and hash browns (as long as they contain vegetable fat) beans, sandwiches, cookies, even small muffins.
It is not necessary that you ask for a complete combo to satisfy you. Find a range of items such as mashed potatoes, corn, or fruit. You can even combine several things to make a completely vegetarian dish if you are creative enough.
A children’s menu contains many vegetable options such as macaroni and cheese, tomato paste, and cheese sandwiches. Even the children’s menu offers either vegetables or fruit (apples in pieces) and many drinks (apple, milk, or water game). You can explore this great option, besides your diet is not a conventional one.
7. Exchange items with your friends
Another great idea is to exchange with your friends. You can give them your meat in exchange for their vegetables. This depends on how fussy they are because you have had the meat on your plate; sometimes, the standards are forgotten, and in many cases, you can eat vegetables even if you did not order meat. You can share and they will be happy with it.
8. Order soy milk in coffee shops
You should bear in mind that at Starbucks, caramel syrup is vegan. The caramel sauce contains dairy. You should also take into account that in some places the same towel is used to clean the steam of espresso coffee between those who have regular milk, soy milk, and chai.
Some last Vegan Tips & Tricks
If you are going to travel and you know you will be with friends who do not give importance to the place where they eat, you can take something with you in your bag. Most likely, the fast food staff will not care much if you are not eating something from the place, and if so, you can inform them that you did because they do not include food that fits your dietary needs. You can also buy a lake like a soda or a cup of coffee.