It’s nice to eat out at a restaurant occasionally. Sticking to your Paleo Diet shouldn't be a reason to avoid eating out!
If you’re going out with a group of friends, try to have some influence over the restaurant you go to. Some restaurants offer so many more Paleo friendly options than others.
It’s also a good idea to check out the menu in advance – most restaurants will have this on their website. If you’re unsure, call ahead to check on specific ingredients. It’s definitely worth making the restaurant aware that you need something gluten, dairy and legume free before you arrive. Most places seem to be extremely accommodating with this, often to the extent of suggesting dishes that aren't even on the menu!
Mix & Match Paleo Options
When looking through the menu be prepared to mix and match. There’s almost always no problem with asking for the meat from one dish to go with the vegetable side from another dish. Dishes often come with a side of fries, some other type of potato, rice or pasta – ask to swap this for more vegetables or a salad.
Sauces, gravy and dressings are often places where gluten, soy and all sorts of undesirables are hiding. It’s best to ask for no sauce, or ask for it on the side, rather than take the risk that your beef will arrive swimming in gluten!
Ask, Ask and Ask Again!
Don’t be afraid to ask exactly what is in your dish – it’s your health – it’s important. It’s also worth asking if the meat is grass-fed. Perhaps it isn't, but hopefully the more people who ask, the sooner restaurants will start stocking it.
Which Types of Restaurant Are The Best For a Paleo Diet?
Some restaurants types are a lot more Paleo than others – but of course, you may find lots of local exceptions to this. Look at the menu and ask about the ingredients!
Korean BBQ/ Mongolian BBQ/ Brazilian BBQ
It doesn't get much more Paleo than cooking a pile of meat at your table barbecue. Sides are usually salads and vegetables and it’s often a great chance to try cuts of meat you don’t usually have.
Steak and vegetables – even better if they offer grass-fed meat.
Whilst there are a lot of dishes to avoid, there are also dishes cooked in coconut milk, or dry cooked (like tandoori) in herbs which represent great Paleo choices. Check they cook with ghee or coconut oil rather than vegetable oil
Lots of “real food” burger restaurants seem to be appearing – good news as these can be a good Paleo option if you order without the bun!
Thai can be a great Paleo dining solution when coconut oil and milk are used.
Most options like tacos or fajitas work well within a Paleo Diet – just order without the tortilla
A wide variety of fish makes dishes like sashimi a great choice
If there are any wild or line caught options, these are likely to be a good bet
And the Worst Restaurant Type For Paleo Options?
Sadly, some restaurants are a lot harder to navigate for Paleo choices. If you’re going somewhere that you know will be challenging, consider eating before you leave, so you won’t be tempted.
With a few notable exceptions, Chinese restaurants are often associated with their use of MSG and soy. Finding a Paleo option can be very difficult.
Do you agree with the best and worst types of restaurants? I’d love to see which restaurants you've found good Paleo options in – and which ones you've found difficult too. Please let me know in the comments, below.