I started my vegan plant-based journey about 4-5 years ago. Never did I imagine I’d be turning my carnivore husband into a semi-vegan and later, raise a child on plants. One of the first things that was on my mind when I found out we were pregnant was, “Am I healthy enough?” Well, that was put to rest when we visited with the doctor and she said, “Don’t worry you’re probably healthier than many moms because you’re definitely overloading on veggies and nutrients.”
Another worry of mine was iron. Having heard so much about going anemic while pregnant, I wanted to make sure I was covering all bases. So the research began: “What to eat” especially since my husband and I were always running around 100 mph.
Vegan on the Go
I’ve always been on the go, working remotely from anywhere anytime, and now I have a baby in tow. Sometimes, lunch is literally a grab and go, and I’ve struggled with finding vegan options at restaurants, especially quick-service. The other part of the balancing act is my husband isn’t 100% vegan quite yet, so I can understand if anyone else is around and you want to remain vegan, you need to make sure the menu offering includes something for everyone.
Let me be 100% transparent, I am not 100% vegan plant-based. I’d say I’m 85.75%. Dad would be disappointed if I totally gave up on Brie and I indulge in a croissant from time to time. But, for example, I found a vegan hazelnut spread called Nocciolata at Whole Foods which will not disappoint any Nutella-lover. Families nowadays are mixed when it comes to their food preferences. As this world is now remote in every way, we seem to need a quick meal and I wanted to take on fast-casual dining.
Here are some local Miami spots with vegan options:
Lately, it seems this restaurant chain went from mall food court stop to the latest craze. #chickfila… it’s a thing. So while I haven’t tried it yet, I did come across some menu items to make a mental note of.
Their iconic waffle fries. They’re made with potatoes, canola oil, and sea salt. If you’re in a potato mood, you can also do some hash browns on the go.
Try their Cool Wrap, but make sure to ask for no chicken, cheese, or dressing. It’s loaded with corn, carrots, black beans, red cabbage, tomatoes, and lettuce, all wrapped in a flaxseed flatbread.
Salty Donut (now known as The Salty)
There is always a soft spot for some sweets. The Salty Donut has its daily specials, and often that includes 1 vegan donut. They also offer a yummy ‘brioche’ filled with a fresh blueberry jam topped with vanilla oat milk glaze, crushed brown sugar cookies, and cinnamon. YUM!
The Daily Bread
This family-owned business is such a favorite of mine. I may be partial to my Lebanese influence on my father’s side, but the food is made fresh daily, and they have plenty of vegan options. Vegan or not, I encourage you to try this place if you haven’t already. Falafels are almost always vegan, sans dressing which might be yogurt-based. Can we talk about their hummus? So good! My 22-month old son loves a plate of hummus. Can we talk about just how healthy it is? It contains so many nutrients including iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, potassium, fiber, and more. I could devour a plate with pita and nothing else.
I know as a mama you are making your stop through the Starbucks drive-thru like me, perhaps even while babe is sleeping. They have a few options. One of my favorites: the sprouted grain bagel, twice toasted. Obvs you can custom make your coffee with soy, oat, or almond milk.
Surprisingly this fast-food casual spot has some vegan offerings. They actually went a step ahead and added a vegan dining option on their website. If you need your bread fix, they have it. The oatmeal is also delish if you’re not already making it at home. They also offer plenty of vegan bowls, soups, salads, and sandwiches.
I spent most of my college years stopping in for the famous chop chop, it’s a Miami staple. Now, I can happily get my fix vegan style. I get everything but the chicken and cheese. I ask for double the black beans, less rice, and load up on lettuce and tomato.
Who doesn’t love a good ol’ classic hot dog? I have to admit I haven’t made it here yet. But, by the time this publishes I probably will. It has been on my list of things to do for months. Vegan hot dogs and they’re really serving it up at this pop-up. From friends, I’m told to try the Chicarito (Mexican style) and the Gringuito (NY Classic). I can report back but pretty sure with my husband we will be sampling all of them!
If Time Permits…
If you can slow down for an hour with the kids, try Aguacate. We discovered this little this hidden “Sanctuary of Love” as they call it, a long time ago. Besides the yoga, gardening, and other cool classes, they have the cutest farmer’s market set in the most tropical hideaway you’d never know was there. Their Juice Bar & Kitchen is 100% natural plant-based. Mom and Dad can relax while your kids will love visiting their small farm of cows, pigs, and other fuzzy animals.
Tips and Ideas
Most fast-food chains, while not my preferred meal, offer salads if you’re in a pinch. Just nix the dressing or go for a vinaigrette.
You can usually order most plates, even at sit-down restaurants, with no meat. Try swapping for more veggies, and always double-check for non-creamy dressings. That’s an easy rule of thumb.
Beans. When you can, order beans. They’re a great protein source.
If you’re running errands at Whole Foods, grab a slice of their vegan cheese pizza.
When in doubt, ask. Most places have vegan options they just don’t have on their menu. If you know of some great local places in Miami with vegan options, please comment below to share with others.