Adopting the Paleo diet is a big commitment. You need to be committed to making your own food and choosing healthy selections that fit within the parameters of this great way of eating. But for many people, the time and effort spent preparing food are well worth the rewards of improved health and better weight management.
Still, there may be times when you’re so busy that you simply don’t have time to make the occasional meal. When this happens, you might be forced to look for alternative options, such as fast food. Though this might sound like a scene from a horror movie for someone who’s been strictly Paleo for a while, it is possible to choose fast-food options that won’t completely derail you from your diet. Yes, it’s really true!
Whether you’re on a road trip or you’re running errands and can’t make it home in time for your next meal, here are the best fast-food options for people on the Paleo diet.
In and Out Burger
Though a burger seems far from Paleo, In and Out Burger offers a Protein Style option that makes it much more Paleo-friendly. When you order, be sure to ask for a lettuce-wrapped, protein-style burger. The beef isn’t grass-fed, but the company states that their patties are made with 100% beef and don’t contain any dairy, fillers, or additives. That’s about as close to Paleo as you can get for a fast-food burger!
As far as toppings go, In and Out Burger is very flexible with added toppings and allows you to choose your own. If you want, ask them to hold all the condiments. You can even add peppers and grilled onions to your burger, though it is unclear whether those ingredients contain any fillers or additives. To be super safe, order your protein-style burger with simply the beef patties, lettuce, and a slice of tomato.
Like In and Out Burger, Carl’s Jr. also offers lettuce-wrapped burger options. It’s basically just a beef patty wrapped in lettuce with a slice of tomato. To make this meal as close to Paleo as possible, order it without the condiments. The beef in this low-carb burger isn’t grass-fed, but it is 100% Angus beef, so you don’t need to worry about any questionable additives.
We’ve talked a lot about burgers, but the truth is, those are generally the easiest fast-food menu items to make quasi-Paleo. Five Guys may be known for their greasy, carb-heavy burgers, but they do offer a lettuce wrap version. You can order a lettuce wrap hamburger made with freshly-ground, 80/20 USDA ground chuck (with no fillers or additives). The burgers are cooked in peanut oil, which does not make them 100% Paleo, but pretty close.
The following burger toppings are Paleo-friendly, so feel free to add them to your lettuce-wrap burger:
- Jalapeno peppers
- Green peppers
- Grilled onions
The grilled onions are sautéed in peanut oil, but the other ingredients in the above list aren’t sauteed in anything and don’t have any fillers.
OK, we’re done talking about burgers (is your mouth watering yet?) Let’s move on to Paleo-friendly juices. Recently, some Jamba Juice locations have started offering genuine, fresh-pressed juice instead of just smoothies. If your local Jamba Juice offers it, order raw juice with the fruits and vegetables you want. Be sure to specify that you don’t want any added sweeteners or ingredients—just pure, delicious, fresh-pressed juice.
So now you have a few fast-food options to turn to when you’re too busy to make all your own meals. Of course, it’s best to limit your consumption of fast-food whenever possible. But sometimes you have to do what you have to do, and that’s OK as long as you choose options like these that are as close to Paleo as possible.