Nutrition Top Five Fast Food Meals for Paleo Eaters

Published on February 6th, 2013 | by Nick Coe


Top Five Fast Food Meals for Paleo Eaters

Fans of paleo get used to cooking from scratch and eating at home, because that’s the only way to avoid the soybean oil, grains, chemicals, sugar, and dairy products that are everywhere in restaurant cooking. But sometimes – when traveling, or with a group of friends, or just really hungry away from home – even the most dedicated paleo/primal eater needs to resort to fast food. Is it possible to eat well at a fast food restaurant? The answer is a tentative yes, if you stick to a few tried and tested meals.

In-N-Out Burger’s Protein or Animal Burger

In-N-Out has some of the best burgers available today: they are fresh, high-quality, and not adulterated with a lot of additives. And if you order from In-N-Out’s “Secret Menu,” which is not that secret, since it’s easily available on their website, you can order double, triple, or even quadruple burgers without a bun. That’s right: four burger patties. The “Protein” style burger comes plain, wrapped in lettuce instead of a bun, and the “Animal” burger also comes bunless, but with several toppings such as grilled onions and mustard. The only downside is that they haven’t come to the East coast yet.

Chipotle Burrito Bowl or Salad

Chipotle is a favorite among the paleo set, and for good reason: it serves fresh and flavorful foods with a variety of meats and vegetables. At most fast food restaurants, you’re stuck with ground beef or chicken, but at Chipotle you have the choice of marinated chicken, steak, barbacoa (which is a spicy, shredded, slow-roasted beef), and carnitas (which is roast pork). If you order the burrito bowl, ask them to hold the beans and rice. What you end up with is a bowl of meat, guacamole, and salsa – that is, all the good stuff, with no filler. Pro tip: if you ask for half orders of two different meats, you’re likely to get close to a double order of meat, because it’s tricky to measure out half orders.

Subway Chicken or Tuna Salad

Although there are certainly more exciting restaurants than Subway, you’ll never have any trouble finding one. They’re everywhere – 37,000 locations – and even better, every sandwich they sell can be ordered as a salad. That means there’s always a relatively healthy paleo option available. Some of the meat selections are drenched in sauce, but others, such as the Oven Roasted Chicken, tuna, or B.L.T are all decent choices. Remember to order oil and vinegar dressing, or none at all, to avoid added sugar and chemicals. There are rumors that the egg whites from the breakfast sandwiches can be ordered as a kind of “wrap,” but try this at your own risk.

Starbucks Protein Bistro Box

In a pinch, this little Starbucks box will provide a decent snack. The boxes include a hardboiled egg, some fruit, peanut butter, cheese, and a piece of wholegrain bread (give the bread to the pigeons). If you bring your own coconut milk for the coffee, you’ll be all set.


Seriously, McDonald’s? Yes. All things considered, McDonald’s is not a terrible paleo choice. Sometimes you’re on the road and the kids are clamoring for Happy Meals – it happens. You can go the traditional paleo route and get an Angus burger with bacon or a grilled chicken sandwich, no bun, or you can try one of the many salads McD’s has added to its menu recently, topped with chicken. Or, you can order a couple of Snack Wraps and toss the tortillas. The fact is, the determined paleo eater, like his caveman forebears, can find something good to eat almost anywhere.

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