This week, I was away for work. I spent the week in Lille. This time I had to take all my meals in restaurants and vegetarians are not really appreciated in restaurants.Moreover, eating in restaurants is not the heathiest way to eat…
So I have a few tips for meals taken:
- in caterings,
- in restaurants.
In French catering usually you are allowed to choose two or three side dishes and one main dish composed with meat, fish or egg and some starch, sometimes you may have some vegetables.
As I avoid meat and fish, usually I can have one more side dish. I prefer to take one or two dishes of crudities, (salads, grated carrots, cucumbers,…), one fruit, maybe one dairy product as yoghurt or cheese. The main dish would be starch and vegs. The only trouble might be proteins in this choice. If there are some beans, soya , nuts, cereals…To be sure, I usually drink some soja milk or oat milk during the day.
I usually ask for one more plate where I will create my meal with all these dishes. This helps me to visualise my meal and to control the amount of food I will eat. People are usually surprise with my ways of doing but, well, hey, I don’t care!
I usually leave a lot, and I’ve learnt not to be ashamed about it. The last day, I filled up my bento box with the left-overs and I added a fruit and yogourt that I bought on the way to the train station. Okay, it’s weird, but I was so happy on the train when I opened my box! Well-balanced and cheap!
In restaurants it’s a bit more difficult. Why? Because of the price, you cannot play the way I do in catering! First thing: choose between entry with a main dish, or a main dish and a pudding.
Second trick: I’ve learnt not to be ashamed when I do not finish my plate. And when the waiter inquires me about the taste of the meal, I breathe and explain that it was delicious but I’m a little eater.
Then, I avoid to take a drink before the meal if it isn’t fruit juice. I rarely drink alcohol. And now that I know that our body uses the alcohol as energy, and therefore the energy coming from sugar and fatty acids are stored…Fruit juice will bring me some vitamins and as a second positive effect: I won’t throw myself on my food, as I’ve already “eaten” a bit. Drinking water as the same positive effect and moreover I won’t stuff myself with bread!
I try to favour crudities and and main dishes with vegetables and starch food. For the pudding I try to go for fruits.
Few more tips, depending on the restaurants.
In pizzerias it’s quite easy to have a healthy meal with pizza, pasta and a side dish of salad. I try to be careful to choose main dishes which are not to greasy.
Another restaurant I enjoy are Asian restaurants. They usually offer a large choice of vegetables with really yummy sauces. I just have to be careful not to fall for grilled food or doughnuts…And chopsticks are so great (this is why I use them so often) as I’ll eat slower and therefore, my body has the time to make me feel I’m full.
In some restaurants, I can choose some salads. The only drawback is that it lacks of starch so I try to eat more bread or add a starchy entry, without forgetting not to eat up my plate!
I know that a salad is really better than a quiche, croissant or vegetables rolls.
The restaurant I enjoyed in Lille was Le Pain Quotidien. It offered organic bread, inventive cuisine with crazy mixes! It is mostly based on salad mixes and bread. For example, I chose bread with slices of goat cheese, pears and nuts, with salad accommodate with sweet dressing…It was the only day, I didn’t have to think over how to balance my meals.
Good gosh,…why on earth is it that restaurants don’t offer a healthy vegetarian meal, for fussy person as me?