If you travel a lot, you know how hard it is to find Paleo-friendly meals. So, next time you’re in a pinch and there’s not a single sweet potato bowl around, reach for these safe bets at popular chain restaurants.
It can be hard to know where you can order food that won’t sabotage your healthy eating plan. Fortunately, dining out on a Paleo diet is a little easier with this helpful guide highlighting the best meals from major chain restaurants.
Note that this list is mostly “slow” food. Most fast food meals are notoriously made with unhealthy oils and cheap ingredients. You may need to take some time to sit-down versus drive-through – but who doesn’t love a cozy meal where they don’t have to cook?
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You can also use the handy $-$$$ guide to keep your budget in check! Restaurants marked with a single $ offer meals under $10, with $$ averaging $10-20, and $$$ indicating a meal over $20.
Whether you’re looking for something low-carb, high protein or chock full of veggies, these 10 US chain restaurants offer the easy Paleo-friendly options you’re looking for.
1. Chipotle – $$
Chipotle’s fast-ish food is entirely allergy friendly. That’s right, there are no peanuts to be found on the premises! There are also options to make it gluten-free, nut-free, and corn-safe, but for extra protection, be sure to ask your server to don fresh gloves.
Best Low Carb Option: A salad with chicken, steak, or barbacoa. Skip the dressing and load up on mild, medium, or hot salsa and a scoop of guac.
Best High Protein Option: A salad with a double serving of chicken, steak, or barbacoa. Skip the dressing and top with mild, medium, or hot salsa and guac.
Best Veggie Packed Option: A salad with extra lettuce, fajita veggies and mild, medium, or hot salsa instead of dressing. Add chicken, steak, or barbacoa for Paleo-friendly protein options.
2. Red Robin – $$
This American burger joint has everything from burgers and salads to grilled chicken or salmon. Basically, you’ve got plenty of choices for eating here and keeping it Paleo.
Best Low Carb Option: Sear-ious Salmon with Bottomless Steamed Broccoli.
Best High Protein Option: Guacamole Bacon Burger wrapped in lettuce with a side of steamed broccoli.
Best Veggie Packed Option: Avo-Cobb-O Salad (skip the cheese and garlic toast).
3. Outback Steakhouse – $$$
This Aussie-inspired steakhouse offers a great mix of steak, chicken, and seafood, making it a solid stop when you need to stay Paleo friendly.
Best Low Carb Option: Grilled Chicken on the Barbie with a side of mixed veggies (skip the BBQ sauce).
Best High Protein Option: 11-ounce Center Cut Sirloin with a side of broccoli.
Best Veggie Packed Option: Aussie Cobb Salad (skip the cheese and croutons) with vinegar and oil dressing and a side of broccoli.
4. Denny’s – $
Open late and early, Denny’s is great for travelers and non-peak dining hours. They have quite a few customizable, gluten-free menu items.
Best Low Carb Option: Loaded Veggie Omelet with extra veggies instead of cheese (skip the sides of hash browns and toast).
Best High Protein Option: Double Burger (skip the cheese and bun) with bacon, avocado, and mushrooms. Add a garden salad with vinegar and oil dressing and/or lemon wedges (no cheese or croutons).
Best Veggie Packed Option: Cobb Salad (no cheese) with vinegar and oil or lemon wedges for dressing; add a side of broccoli for even more veggies.
5. BJ’s – $$
Make a stop at this brewhouse for the perfect compromise with your not-so-Paleo friends. They can get pizza or tacos, while you can enjoy delish meals that will keep you on your meal plan target.
Best Low Carb Option: Enlightened Lemon Thyme Chicken, skip the brown rice.
Best High Protein Option: Bacon-Guacamole Deluxe Burger (skip the bun, cheese, and mayo) with a side of broccoli or asparagus instead of fries. If you’re really feeling it, add an extra side of bacon or a second burger patty!
Best Veggie Packed Option: Enlightened Kale and Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad (skip the cheese).
6. Applebee’s – $$
A family-friendly bar and grill, Applebee’s is part American burger place, part comfort food, and part sports bar.
Best Low Carb Option: 6-ounce top sirloin with two sides of steamed broccoli.
Best High Protein Option: 8-ounce top sirloin with two sides of steamed broccoli and an add-on shrimp skewer.
Best Veggie Packed Option: Grilled Chicken Salad (skip the cheese and dressing) with extra avocado and a side of broccoli.
7. Red Lobster – $$$
You don’t have to stick with seafood here – Red Lobster also has steak and salads. The good news is that it’s actually quite Paleo-friendly and offers several options.
Best Low Carb Option: Wood-Grilled Shrimp with sides of broccoli and asparagus.
Best High Protein Option: Wood-Grilled Shrimp & Sirloin. Skip the side of mashed potatoes for another side of broccoli or asparagus.
Best Veggie Packed Option: Salmon New Orleans, with a side of asparagus instead of mashed potatoes.
8. Panera – $$
This bakery café is often avoided by the low-carb crowd, but Panera also offers some excellent Paleo-friendly options packed with veggies. If you have Celiac disease or can’t handle cross contamination, this might not be the place for you. Otherwise, there’s no reason to skip this ubiquitous café.
Best Low Carb Option: Greek Salad. Skip the cheese and add chicken instead.
Best High Protein Option: Green Goddess Cobb Salad with Chicken.
Best Veggie Packed Option: Fuji Apple Salad with Chicken (skip the cheese).
9. Five Guys – $$
You won’t even miss the fries when you bite into the freshly grilled, juicy burgers from Five Guys.
Best Low Carb Option: Burger or Bacon Burger, skip the bun, with lettuce and tomatoes.
Best High Protein Option: Bacon Burger, skip the bun, with all the veggie toppings you want (plus, add a little extra bacon, too).
Best Veggie Packed Option: Veggie Sandwich, skip the bun, with extra toppings of tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers.
10. Cheesecake Factory – $$$
If you find yourself at the Cheesecake Factory, don’t fret. Among the endless cheesecakes and heavy pastas, there are a few Paleo-friendly options that’ll fill you up in a pinch.
Best Low Carb Option: Fresh Grilled Salmon (swap the mashed potatoes for a second side of broccoli).
Best High Protein Option: Grilled Ribeye Steak (skip the mashed potatoes and choose a second veggie side).
Best Veggie Packed Option: Wellness Salad.
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