Eating Paleo is fabulous! But eating out can sometimes be a challenge. There are a couple of requirements for a Paleo Friendly Restaurant.
- They have good choices.
- They have good alternatives.
- They will make substitutions.
- They will offer items a la carte.
Some of you may be asking, “What is Paleo”? Paleo is a way of eating modeled after “cavemen”. CrossFit has the most suncinct definition. Mostly lean meats and veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starches, no sugar/grains/dairy. You can find more information on the web, just like vegetarians, there are many different kinds of paleo eaters. But that, in general, is what paleo people eat.
- Any Thai Restaurant – Obviously the pad thai and rice dishes are out. They always have good stir fries.
- Any Mexican/Taqueria – Not tex mex! Actual mexican. Always good options sans tortillas, rice and beans. Watch out though, many taquerias tend to not be substitution friendly.
- Any Churrascaria. Brazilian. On the expensive side, but your options are all you can eat meat and salad bar veggies with pineapple for dessert. This is the closest it gets to a paleo restaurant.
- TGIChilliville: Any of your TGIFish type restaurants offer fine salad options, or some chicken thing with a vegetable sub. Or fajitas without the tortillas. They are invading the earth.
- BBQ Joints – These can be hit or miss. There is the potential for good options. However remember most BBQ sauce has a decent amount of sugar and who knows what else. So it kind of depends on the sauce for the most part. But you can usually get some decent side options, like greens, coleslaw (the vinegar based kind), and yams.
Fast Food/Traveling Dining Options
- Burgerville, In and Out, Carl’s Jr – Get the burger without the bun. You can do this at most places now, but these guys offer the most bang for your buck in terms of quantity of meat you receive between two pieces of lettuce.
- They all offer good options, some more than others. It often pays to find a grocery store of any kind. So get out of your car instead of pulling into a drive through, or drive a little further instead of foraging for options right off the highway.
- New Seasons – Order: Hot Plate Specials, Wok Bowl, can’t get enough of it….
- Safeway – Has organic salad kits in the refrigerated produce section. The ingredients are separate from the greens. If you get this, you can get a quarter pound of turkey deli meat and an avocado and stick it all in the salad.
For more specific places, check out Meat Eats, Jess’s fabulous blog about paleo dining around Portland.
*Note: I do not recommend going to the larger chains unless you are traveling, have no other options, and/or the world is ending. There are much better local options. Explore, take a little time to drive more than two feet off the interstate. You will find wonders.