I have many friends that love their chicken and their burgers, but that's not me. Whether we are going out to eat or staying in, I have no desire to force my vegetarianism on my omnivorous friends. However, that's not a problem because over the years I have come up with 5 easy ways to survive being the only vegetarian.

1. Help pick the restaurant.

This may seem obvious, but how much time do we really spend sitting around saying "I don't know, you pick" when choosing where to eat out. Keep a list of vegetarian-friendly restaurants on your phone that you know are good or you've been interested in trying. This way you won't end up at say, McDonalds, where you would be eating fries for dinner. You may be surprised how easily friends will be swayed when you have a couple of options ready to go, and good food pics always help you get your way.

2. Make sure there are always vegetarian options on the menu.

chili, meat, pepper, pasta, salad, vegetable
Michelle Miller

The ultimate #spoontip: ask to substitute meat with avocado. I don't know about you, but avocado on any salad, sandwich, or wrap has never disappointed. I always feel kind of robbed when I pay for a chicken salad or sandwich with no chicken. I've discovered many restaurants will sub avo, no charge! For example, at cheesecake factory my go to is the Chinese chicken salad, hold the chicken, add avocado. This is a trick that even my non-vegetarian friends have been doing because who doesn't love avocado. You may be extra, but avocado doesn't have to be.

3. Offer to cook dinner.

Chopping Ingredients photo by Katie Smith (@kati3j3an) on Unsplash

on unsplash

While going out is definitely one of my favorite things to do, staying in may be easier to accommodate everyones dietary neediness (aka my neediness) and keep meals cheaper. I have thoroughly impressed my friends with a few vegetarian dinners, so far. Some of our favorites are spinach and green chile enchiladas and zucchini fries!

4. Breakfast for dinner (or any meal).

Julia McAleer

Breakfast is easily the best meal for vegetarians. No meat necessary when you have pancakes, french toast, potatoes, fruit, and all types of eggs to choose from. A go-to for me and my friends is scrambled eggs, french toast, fruit, and tater tots. Tater tots are easily thrown in the oven and pair perfectly with breakfast and dinner. 

5. Always keep some meat substitutions in the freezer.

Emma Rust

If you are staying in and someone else is cooking dinner, you don't have to make them keep the meal completely vegetarian. If they're cooking up some chicken, you can simply bring over a veggie burger or "chicken" patty so you don't feel too left out or miss out on your protein. Some of my favorites are MorningStar black bean burgers, Dr. Praeger's California Burger, and Quorn Chik'n Patties. These are great on a bun, or on their own, along with any other sides you're cooking up like mashed potatoes, salad, or roasted veggies.

Unless you are at a legit meat-only restaurant, there is almost always an option or substitution you can make that is vegetarian-friendly. Even burger joints like In-n-Out and Five Guys have grilled cheese or veggie sandwiches that are actually pretty decent.  So while it can be tricky to be vegetarian when the rest of your friends aren't, it doesn't have to be so hard. Especially, if we're all eating what we want to eat. In the future, just keep in mind these simple ways to make life as the sole veg-head easier.