Lunch Break: 5 Paleo-Friendly Options in Washington

Hit these major chains for a satisfying lunch that won’t break your diet.

Look for Paleo-friendly avocado in your lunch options. Photograph via Shutterstock.

Plenty of people credit the Paleo diet with helping them eat better and feel healthier. But in the middle of a busy day at work, it’s not always easy to find quick lunch spots that cater to the grain-dairy-legume-sugar-free diet. 

We parsed the menus at five popular chain restaurants and came up with some suggestions for what to order, plus a few things to avoid. 


Say yes to: A make-your-own mix of roast chicken on a bed of organic baby spinach and mesclun, with organic carrots, toasted almonds, local apples, and red grapes topped with extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Avoid: The raw corn—which is really a grain, not a vegetable—and the candied pecans, which are loaded with sugar. 


Say yes to: A burrito bowl filled with lettuce, a meat of your choice, fajita vegetables, salsa, and guacamole. 

Avoid: The beans and rice, which are off limits. Also, instead of balancing out the spicy meat with cheese and sour cream, load up on the delicious superfood guacamole instead.

Pret a Manger 

Say yes to: Chicken and avocado salad with cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil. 

Avoid: The soups. Though Pret’s butternut squash and tomato soups may look promisingly dairy-, grain-, and legume-free, there’s a splash of cream in both that makes them forbidden.

Roti Mediterranean Grill

Say yes to: A Greek-inspired salad with steak, olives, tomatoes and cucumbers, sumac onions, and Roti vinaigrette. 

Avoid: Feta and pita bread, though staples of the Greek salad, aren’t on the Paleo diner’s guest list. 

Jimmy John’s

Say yes to: A sandwich! Or rather, an “unwich”—a lettuce wrap stuffed with smoked turkey, tomato, and more lettuce, and slathered in avocado spread. 

Avoid: Mayo and cheese—most of Jimmy John’s sandwiches come with these toppings, but to stay Paleo, you’ll have to pass on both. 

Have another favorite Paleo-friendly restaurant or menu item? Give us your recommendations in the comments!  

See also: Food Diaries—How to Eat on the Paleo Diet

Associate Editor

Caroline Cunningham joined Washingtonian in 2014 after moving to the DC area from Cincinnati, where she interned and freelanced for Cincinnati Magazine and worked in content marketing. She currently resides in College Park.