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.
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!