Today’s diet consists mainly of additives, preservatives, and processed foods – three of the ingredients that make up most fast food. For some, this isn’t an issue. If it tastes good and doesn’t break the bank, who cares what’s in it? But for Paleo followers, what’s inside their food matters – a lot. Instead of a highly-processed diet, they aim to eat the way they believed we were intended to back in the caveman or paleolithic days, hence why it’s called “Paleo.”
The Paleo diet allows any whole foods that can be hunted or gathered and nothing more. We’re talking meats, fish, eggs, veggies, fruits, oils, seeds, and nuts. That’s it.
So, here’s the real question. What fast food can you eat that’s not processed and is solely hunted or gathered? Well, we’re here to tell you. Here are eight paleo fast food options for you to try!
Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a full-sized meal, Chick-fil-A’s bite-sized Grilled Chicken Nuggets are a great choice for paleo fast food. Eat them plain or have them thrown into the Superfood Side Salad. The salad is made with broccolini, dried cranberries, and nuts all thrown over kale making it 100% paleo. If you choose the salad, be sure to ask for lemon juice instead of the dressing to avoid excess sugar and preservatives.
A juicy burger should be on every diet, except vegan of course. Fortunately, the Paleo Diet makes room for Shake Shack’s 100% all-natural Angus beef burgers. The only kicker? You have to order it without the bun. Which really isn’t a kicker because instead, you get to eat your burger on a bed of crispy lettuce with tomatoes and pickles. Plus, if you’re nixing the bun, you have room for extra bacon!
Chipotle is the swiss army knife of fast-food chains. There isn’t a diet out there that it can’t meet, including paleo. It may also be the most customizable option out there. Order a bowl, forgo the rice and beans, and ask for salad instead, then top it to your heart’s desire. All of the meats and toppings are paleo-friendly except the soyrizo, sour cream, and cheese. But the guac and salsa? Feel free to ask for extra.
Whether or not Panera Bread counts as fast food is still up for debate. We’ll just call it fast-casual. Anyways, aside from Chipotle, Panera Bread is the best option for Paleo dieters – as long as you like salads. You can order almost any salad on the menu as long as you ask for it without cheese, crispy strips, or dressing. Instead, you can ask for the Greek Dressing which is made from red vinegar, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and oregano.
If you eat Paleo, you owe In-N-Out’s secret menu a big, fat thank you. Because of it, your bunless, cheeseless burger doesn’t seem so sad. Instead, you can order a bunless burger “protein style.” Meaning that you’ll get your burger served between two crisp pieces of lettuce instead of just plopped onto a plate. Although you can’t have it “animal style,” you can order the grilled onions and ask for multiple patties. If you’re feeling like cheating a bit, go ahead and order the fries. We won’t tell anyone!
Feel free to argue us on this, but Starbucks is better than Caribou Coffee or Dunkin’ – for the Paleo Diet, that is. We’ll tell you why in two words – healthy snacks. Ask the barista’s to whip you up a healthy smoothie or order one of the protein boxes without the cheese or bread. For a full lunch choice, you can order the Cauliflower Tabbouleh Side Salad. Or, if you’re in more of a drinking mood, you can order any of their herbal teas or black coffee.
El Pollo Loco
Lucky for you Paleo dieters, El Pollo Loco’s famous flame-grilled chicken gets the green light. Order the grilled chicken plain and pair it with a side of broccoli or order it with a side salad. Don’t forget to ask for it without the cheese, sour cream, corn, and tortilla strips! And if neither of those sides sounds appealing, you can always take the chicken home and pair it with something you have there.
Before you get too excited, no we are not telling you that Pizza Hut’s pizza is paleo-friendly. But we are saying that their wings are! Instead of watching your friends gobble down that delicious pizza, you can enjoy a platter full of bone-in wings. For added flavor, try the lemon pepper dry rub!
Five years ago, you would have never been able to find this many paleo fast food options. Thankfully, times have changed and you can now find tons of options at all of your favorite restaurants!
Wondering what to order if you are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, or sugar-free? Check out our blog on the best fast food items for every diet!