How to Stay Raw When Dining Out at Restaurants

Naomi and Nathalie
Naomi & I

One of the questions I hear often is how do you stay raw when you eat out at restaurants? There are a pieces to this puzzle, so tag along with me as I explain my rationale.

I was inspired to answer this particular question today, because I had a great time meeting up with fellow bloggers and twitter friends last night.

With great company like Naomi & Jamie Dunford, Lynn, Mark, Jon, and Russell & Maggie food was the last thing on my mind. Yet the question still lingers…

How to 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.

How to Order a Raw Plate Without Stressing Yourself Out

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 a whole ‘nother blog post!)

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.

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 higher end restaurants or steak houses you’re going to be getting some quality veggies.


Making a Special Request

What I’ve had success with is asking the waiter for something special with my salad. Here are a few examples of orders I’ve made at restaurants that have made my experience much better.

Double Your Salad Order

I 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.

Add Extra Veggies

Another great option is 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.

Feeling Good About Your Choices

I often worry that I’m going to want to eat what other people have ordered. Honestly, this happened to me even before I went raw.

It’s just my monkey brain trying to convince me that my life isn’t perfect, and that I should be doing things differently.

The truth is that when I focus on the present moment, and commit to enjoying every bite of what it is I have in front of me, I really don’t care what other people order.

Now when people imply that the restaurant doesn’t have any good raw options I can say I’m really happy with my order.

More Importantly, You Should Enjoy Your Company

Remember that most of the time when we meet up with people 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.

Love, Nathalie

Simple Raw Salad Recipe

There’s definitely more to raw food than salads. But in the interest of being thorough, here is my most simply raw salad recipe!

I want to know: What do you usually put in your salads? Leave a comment below and let me know. :)