On The Road? Your Guide to Vegan Fast Food
Newly vegan and traveling this fall or winter for work or pleasure? Know that it is possible to maintain your diet with chain fast food and fast-casual restaurants. It just takes a little planning ahead.
Most fast food restaurants are at the top of the list for being vegan-friendly. One look at the commercials and ads and you quickly see that the focus is on cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets!
Before traveling, you can plan ahead by packing a small cooler in your car filled with vegan goodies to snack on while driving. Most airlines are pretty cool these days about bringing food on board, especially since their food options have become much more limited in recent years due to cost.
But there are times when you will need to stop and find something to eat and fast food is all that is quickly available. So it is good to know that there are options! Keep in mind that it may be best to walk in and speak with a live person about your diet needs rather than speak through a squeaky drive-through speaker. But you probably need to get out and stretch your legs anyway!
Biscuits generally are out (butter) and most fast food locations today do offer oatmeal, but it typically also contains dairy. At McDonalds, you can order the maple and fruit oatmeal made with water instead of cream. Jack in the Box has a blueberry muffin oatmeal that is vegan.
Burger King has one surprising option that is accidentally vegan – the French Toast Sticks. Hashbrowns are also vegan at BK, Chic-Fil-A, Hardees, and Dunkin Donuts. Speaking of Dunkin Donuts, several bagel flavors are vegan as are the English Muffins
Starbucks is a good choice, as they have recently expanded their vegan offerings. Try the Classic (a blend of rolled and steel-cut oats with dried fruit and nuts) or Blueberry Oatmeal (blueberries and agave syrup). You can also get avocado spread for plain bagels in place of butter or cream cheese.
If you have the chance to sit down to eat, Denny’s offers the Fit Fare Veggie Skillet (ask for it without eggs), English Muffins, Bagels, Grits (ask for no butter), applesauce, and fresh fruit. At IHOP, order hashbrowns, grits and fresh fruit.
Fast Food Lunch
• Burger King added a veggie burger to their options, but unfortunately it is the Morningstar Farms brand that contains dairy and eggs. You can order a garden salad with a side of fries and apple slices or applesauce. And believe it or not, the Dutch Apple Pie is vegan!
• Chic-Fil-A obviously focuses on chicken, but you could ask for a salad without it. Or order Fries with a fruit cup or cinnamon applesauce.
• Taco Bell – there are many sides that are vegan, including the cinnamon twists, chips and guac or pico, cilantro rice, and black or refried beans. Also, if you order the Bean Burrito “fresco style” it will be vegan. The 7 layer burrito is vegetarian, but hold the cheese and sour cream to make it a 5-layer burrito and you are good to go.
• Del Taco - You can get the 8 Layer Veggie Burrito, the 1/2 lb. Bean & Cheese Burrito, or the Value Bean & Cheese Burrito with red or green sauce. Simply ask for no cheese, no rice and no sour cream.
• Quiznos – order the veggie sub without cheese and ask for balsamic vinaigrette instead of red-wine vinaigrette. Vegan bread options include white or wheat and herb wrap.
• Subway – the Veggie Delite on Italian Bread or Sourdough without cheese or mayo is a great option. Top your sub with oil, vinegar, mustard, deli mustard, sweet onion sauce or fat-free Italian dressing. Some locations now have vegan patties to make a heartier sub – check the menu board.
• Wendy’s – A garden side salad (without croutons – they contain dairy) and plain baked potato makes a really good meal. But you can also ask for a “veggie sandwich” (apparently there is already a button for it on the cash register) that includes everything that would be on the burger without meat (remember to make sure they don’t include cheese or mayo, though)
• Yes, McDonald’s is glaringly omitted from our vegan fast food list. But that didn’t stop the team at Very Vegan Recipes from creating their own sandwich out of vegan ingredients! Called the “McVeganstein” order a sesame seed bun with pickles, lettuce, mushroom, and tomatoes. Top with Southwestern Chipotle BBQ Sauce. And get a side of apple slices.