When I decided to go vegetarian — and in case you missed this, I no longer am one completely, due to how much I like bacon — I actually was heavily influenced by the vegetarian food I ate in restaurants. I noticed that these items quite often had more veggies and they often just sounded very appealing. The more I developed a taste for veggies, the more I realized I could go without meat. So if you want to do the whole semi-vegetarian thing, or if you just want to be a bit healthier when eating on the go, here are some great options.
Chipotle. I love burrito bowls from Chipotle (or Qdoba, or whatever the case may be)! Love, love, love. This was my first foray into vegetarianism, and I still eat vegetarian bowls quite frequently at home. With rice, beans, extra veggies, three kinds of salsa, and guac (and maybe some sour cream and cheese!) the chicken is really just an afterthought. You don’t need it and it doesn’t do much to enhance the dish. And hey, if you’re counting calories, personally, I’d rather take those chicken cals and thrown them toward some tortilla chips…just sayin’.
Mongolian BBQ. The first time I ever tried tofu it was adding it to my stir-fry bowl. Hey…baby steps!
Subway. The Veggie Delite was another baby step toward vegetarianism for me! I had no idea I could be so satisfied with so many fresh vegetables.
Panera Bread. The Mediterranean Veggie sandwich also helped convince me that meatless was really delicious and filling. And having it with black bean soup or the new vegetable pesto soup and a fruit cup is a fabulous way to have a healthy lunch without any meat necessary.
Olive Garden. If you’re staring at ten different types of pasta, I think a great way to make a selection is to look for the item that has the most vegetables. The shrimp primavera at Olive Garden has bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Then you can just ask for it without the shrimp and ask for extra veggies — even veggies like broccoli or squash that may not come in it normally. (Most restaurants are pretty accommodating with a request for more veggies, so you can do that even if you’re a meat-eater.)
Red Robin. I haven’t eaten here in years — the whole “free refills on fries” thing is like my Kryptonite — but what’s cool is that you can get any burger replaced with a veggie burger. Since the best part of these burgers is usually the toppings, not the meat, you probably won’t miss the beef — and you can get a much healthier meal. (Except for those goddamn unlimited fries that are SO GOOD.)
Just making small swaps like this can be a really simple way to eat healthier on the go and cut your meat consumption.
What say you, veggie girls? Any other amazing vegetarian options in restaurants to share??