I'm often invited to restaurants before or after certain meetings with groups of people I know, including friends. However, I don't like to eat "outside food" and never go to restaurants or get take out in my daily life. I'm a really cynical person and I don't trust that restaurant food is of good intent. I want to be able to see every step of the process that the food went through before eating it such as how well it was washed, where was it grown, did the processor wash their hands before, is it fresh? I'm not a fan of business tricks such as skipping steps that can't be observed by the customer (such as not washing fruits because nobody can tell) Because I'm not able to keep track of these things at restaurants I prefer not to eat at them. These are my own personal reasons and I know they are not universally agreed upon by everyone else. I do not want to share them as I don't want a debate about why my reasons are not right; I know some of them are extreme, but I still prefer for it to be the way it is.
Usually I still go to the restaurant though with them but don't order anything except maybe a drink just to have "ordered" something (which I won't drink). (Note: We go to low quality/inexpensive (or overpriced low quality) places to eat)
Sometimes this becomes awkward as the people I am with start asking me questions about why I don't eat. They try to help me by suggesting that we can go to a different restaurant or recommending things from the menu. Still, it won't make a difference as I won't eat it either way.
I feel like this becomes really awkward and sometimes offensive towards the other person(s) when they see I decline to eat or order any food. It also draws lots of unwanted attention to me. Since I'm not able to communicate exactly why I don't eat anything there I feel degraded not being able to deal with the situation and end up ruining it for everyone.
I don't know how to communicate to them that I'm sitting there at the restaurant to talk or spend time with them and NOT for the food as I am not a fan of restaurants or trying different foods in general.
How can I inform people whom invite me to eat with them that I would like to go with them to the restaurant but not eat?