Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

customize diet in English order food in restaurant

Have you ever noticed just how many diets there are?

Have you stopped to consider how offering foods that make everyone happy can be?

If you eat a special diet, do you find it difficult to ask for what you want in English?

We’re going to look at the different diets, and help you in knowing how to order exactly what you want.

A few words or phrases can help you to order your meal the right way–we’ll help you through this sometimes confusing process.


Considering Different Dietary Restrictions

You may follow your own diet or you may use an established one.

These are some of the most common or mainstream diets but there are plenty more beyond just these.

A few common diets include:

  • Vegan
  • Vegetarian
  • Gluten free
  • Low carb
  • Keto diet
  • Paleo diet
  • Dairy free
  • Fruitarian
  • Pescatarean
  • Flexitarian

You may fit into one of these, or you may have your own set of rules you follow when it comes to eating.

No matter what you eat or don’t eat, it’s helpful to know how to ask for what you want.

When you consider the vast array of diets out there, this is an important part of sticking to your eating plan.


All Ears English TranscriptsMake sure you understand every word you hear on All Ears English.

Bring your English to the advanced level with new vocabulary and natural expressions.

Get the transcripts from today’s episode.

Learn to speak naturally with the American accent.

Click here to download them instantly.


Ensuring You Get Exactly What You Want

You likely have things that you enjoy eating, but there may be some things that are off limits.

Knowing how to ask for exactly what you want especially when dining out is crucial.

It’s okay to ask questions or put in requests, and in all honesty that’s what restaurants are used to.

Here we look at a few helpful examples to ensure that you get food that fits into your diet appropriately.

To ask:

  • Excuse me, what’s in the _________________? (potatoes, Caesar salad, sauce)
  • I’m ____________, so could you please check if there is ____________ in the ____? (a vegan/eggs/sauce) –OR I have a ___________ allergy
  • Do you know if there is/are any ____________ in this dish? (cheese, peanuts)

Be specific as to what you are searching for information on, and know that the restaurant will check and accommodate you.


To change:

  • Can I substitute the _____________ for the _____________? OR it’s ____ WITH the ______, then it’s the other way around(broccoli/fries) (hot sauce/mild sauce)
  • I’ll have the ____________ but without any _______________. (salad/cheese) (asparagus/butter)
  • I’d like the___________________, but could I get the _______________ on the side? (salad/dressing) (pizza/mushrooms)
  • Could I get ___________________ instead of ________________ with that? (cheddar cheese/swiss cheese)
  • Could I get that without any _____________?

Never feel bad about asking for substitutions–restaurants get these requests all the time.

Know that these are all polite and effective ways to change something up in your order.


To remember:

  • Be friendly: You are much more likely to get what you want if you are kind to the server. A smile and a friendly positive attitude goes a long way in customizing an order. 
  • Know that some places don’t allow substitutions: This isn’t as common anymore, but fancier restaurants may really limit the substitutions. It never hurts to ask and they are likely to work with you on something that fits your dietary needs. 
  • Some places may charge extra for something “is there an extra charge to add _______________-? (avocado) It may be well worth it to you to pay a little extra to get what you want.
  • Try not to overdo it: While most restaurants are willing to accommodate you, it’s important to be reasonable. Focus on the things that matter the most to you and then let some of the smaller issues go if you can.

These are all helpful phrases and ways to request a meal that fits your needs and appeals to you on every level.



If you feel unsure of how to order a meal to fit your specific needs, now you have some idea starters.

Remember that a positive attitude will always get you a lot further in a restaurant honoring your request.

Think of what’s the most important to you and then focus on this when ordering your meal.

These are all great ways to order things according to your needs, and they help in making connections as well.


If you have any questions, please post them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can. 

  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X
  • App-Store-Button
  • google-play-badge
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • US_ListenOn_AmazonMusic_button_black_RGB_5X