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13 Best Paleo Fast Food Options to Fit Your Diet

close up photo of a vegetables salad in a bowl

Following a Paleo lifestyle doesn’t require giving up convenience in a fast-paced society. Discover the gastronomic gems that satisfy your primal desires in our investigation of the the greatest paleo fast food selections to suit any diet. Make your way through the contemporary maze of drive-thrus and takeout menus without sacrificing your dedication to healthful, ancestral cuisine. Find out how to satisfy your appetite while adhering to Paleolithic age principles with a variety of crisp, garden-fresh options and sizzling, protein-packed treats. Let’s take a tasteful trip where fast food and the primitive palate collide, demonstrating that healthy decisions may be made quickly and deliciously.

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A
Source: Instagram

Chick-fil-a is closed on Sunday, but the restaurant meets your paleo needs six days a week. The restaurant specializes in grilled chicken, both in sandwich and nugget form. Bread isn’t paleo, so I stick to the nuggets. Avoid the temptation to use sauces; they contain refined sugars that don’t fit the diet. If nuggets don’t curb your hunger on their own, consider getting the grilled chicken on a salad. The Superfood Side Salad is made of: Broccolini, Dried cranberries, Kale. Avoid the dressings and opt for a splash of lemon juice for flavor. If you love the acidity like I do. Check out the healthier options at Chick-Fil-A!


Chipotle

Chipotle
Source: Instagram

Chipotle makes eating paleo easy, so that’s where I go all the time. Every meal is made to order, allowing you to select which of the many ingredients you want to be included. Chipotle offers a vast assortment of options, making it easy to cobble a paleo meal from the component parts. However, when I’m not feeling inspired and want someone else to make the dinner decision for me, Chipotle offers custom meal options for every lifestyle. The paleo bowl is delicious and is made up of: Lettuce, Chicken, Fajita veggies, Tomatillo-green salsa, Guacamole. If you’re looking to bring Chipotle into your own kitchen, check out these recipes you can recreate whenever you feel like it!


El Pollo Loco

El Pollo Loco
Source: Instagram

Craving Mexican food but don’t want to ruin your paleo diet? El Pollo Loco has you covered! The restaurant’s specialty is grilled chicken, and they’re amenable to modifications. El Pollo Loco created the Pollo Fit Menu to cash in on the healthy eating movement. These options are better for you, with the opportunity for customization. The restaurant doesn’t have paleo-specific options; however, keto meals provide a solid foundation for modification. While fun to say, the Keto Burrito requires changes and a little dismantling. Nix the cheese and sauce when you order. Since a tortilla is not paleo, you’ll have to spill the guts and eat the contents with a fork. However, if you don’t feel up to the deconstruction, try the Double Chicken Avocado Salad, minus the cheese and dressing. I find that this dish, chock full of protein and vegetables, usually satisfies my hunger.

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In-N-Out

In-N-Out
Source: Instagram

In-N-Out keeps its paleo-friendly options under wraps. The restaurant’s public menu is limited and has no choices for paleo eaters. However, In-N-Out has a secret menu. Ask for your burger protein style, and the restaurant will replace the bun with a lettuce wrap. Just make sure In-N-Out doesn’t add any of their house sauce, as it does not meet paleo standards. When I’m too hungry, I order the double protein style. The extra burger will mitigate some of the pain the absence of fries causes. 


Panera Bread

Panera Bread
Source: Instagram

You might not expect a restaurant called Panera Bread to cater to a paleo diet. Panera’s menu needs modifications to adhere to the restrictions and guidelines; however, if you’re willing to make these alterations, Panera can curb your hunger. As tempting as the bagels and soups are, stick to the salad options. Make whichever appeals to you paleo by requesting the restaurant omit the cheese, crispy elements, such as wonton strips, nuts, and dressings. I usually go for the Strawberry Poppyseed Salad with Chicken, which requires minimal alterations. Simply hold the dressing and skip the pecans and oranges. Like many restaurants, Panera has a secret menu. If you’re looking for a filling paleo breakfast, try the breakfast egg bowl. The dish comes with: Eggs, Steak, Tomatoes, Avocado. Feel like making your own Panera-inspired meal at home? Check out some of the best Panera recipes to recreate.


Shake Shack

Shake Shack
Source: Instagram

Shake Shack allows you to replace buns with a lettuce wrap, allowing you to scratch your burger itch without eating prohibited grains. You’ll have to customize your order; avoid the ShackSauce and cheese, but feel free to add peppers and pickles. Other paleo options at Shake Shack are limited, but removing the buns on any option is a start!


Starbucks

Starbucks
Source: Instagram

You may not even realize you’re hungry until you’re waiting for your coffee order at Starbucks, passing the time admiring the pastries. Luckily you can satisfy your hunger and adhere to a paleo lifestyle by choosing one of the chain’s pre-made protein boxes. Starbucks’s are all prepared in advance, so you cannot customize them; however, you can simply choose not to eat the non-paleo elements. One of your best options is the egg and cheddar protein box, which contains: Two hard-boiled eggs, Apple slices, Grapes, White cheddar cheese, Muesli bread, Honey peanut butter. Enjoy the eggs and fruit, but feed the bread to the ducks and pass the cheese and peanut butter onto a friend; dairy and nuts don’t adhere to the paleo diet. 

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Burger King

Burger King
Source: Instagram

While Burger King is one of the better fast food choices for vegetarians, it should be the absolute last resort for paleo eaters. When I have no other option, I go for a burger either without a bun or with a lettuce wrap. Make sure to omit the cheese and to qualify that you don’t want mayonnaise or ketchup. A grilled chicken sandwich is also an acceptable option; again, just be sure to nix the bread and any sauces. Burger King includes lettuce, tomatoes, and onions on most of their sandwiches, all of which are permissible in a paleo diet. Finally, consider a garden side salad. Just don’t use any provided dressings. 


Five Guys

Five Guys
Source: Instagram

Five Guys is all about quality beef, just like the paleo diet. It may prove difficult to resist the siren song of fresh-cooked french fries; however, Five Guys’s burgers will curb your hunger if you can. Of course, you’ll need to skip the buns; however, the restaurant allows you to substitute lettuce for the bread. Five Guys prepared all of their food – including their burgers and bacon – in peanut oil. Nuts and legumes aren’t paleo, so if you follow the diet strictly, you’ll have to forego the Five Guys. However, the burger options are still good choices if you’re flexible. You can add the following paleo ingredients to your Five Guys burger: Green peppers, Jalapeno peppers, Grilled onions, Tomatoes,Lettuce.


Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John's
Source: Instagram

Jimmy John’s enthusiasts tend to focus on its amazing fresh rolls. However, paleo eaters can’t enjoy bread, which seemingly puts them at a disadvantage. However, Jimmy John’s turns the tables on our expectations, offering what they call an “unwich.” The unwich is a sandwich, with the lettuce substituted for the bread. You’ll, of course, need to avoid cheese and dressing; The restaurant slices all of its meats in-house. Their various fillings are prepared daily, making them as fresh as possible. Some of their best meat options are: Roast beef, Turkey, Bacon. Load your unwich with veggies; Jimmy John’s offers tomatoes, lettuce, onions, peppers, and avocados. 


Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut
Source: Instagram

Pizza Hut is probably the last place you’d expect to go for wings. However, if you’re keeping paleo, that original crust pizza is off-limits. The wings, however, are not. You can’t enjoy their many dipping sauces; however, you can partake of the bone-in wings. Stick to the classic wings, as the breaded variety isn’t paleo. However, feel free to try one of the dry rubs-either lemon pepper or cajun style. 

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Taco Bell

Taco Bell
Source: Instagram

Your favorite hangover food can be made paleo-friendly, provided you’re prepared to request some modifications. Most Taco Bell foods heavily feature rice, beans, and cheese, all massive no-nos in a paleo diet. Get ready; you’re going to need to remove a lot of ingredients. Luckily you can also add proteins to make up the deficit. The Power Bowl provides a good foundation for your order. This dish, as prepared, contains: Black beans, Rice, Guacamole, Sour cream, Lettuce, Cheese, Avocado ranch sauce, Tomatoes, Chicken, beef, or steak. Swap out the rice for lettuce and nix the sour cream, beans, cheese, and sauce. You can also order the dish al fresco, meaning they omit the sour cream, cheese, and sauce and add pico de gallo. You can even grab a quick paleo breakfast from Taco Bell. Order the Naked Egg Taco and feast without breaking any rules. Taco Bell’s guacamole is also paleo-friendly, so enjoy it to your heart’s content. 


Wendy’s

Wendy's
Source: Instagram

Wendy’s isn’t the best option for paleo eating. However, if you’re on a road trip and starving, you can do worse than Dave Thomas’s burger emporium. As with most fast food places, you can simply order a plain burger without a bun. However, if you’re hoping for something more filling and nutritious, Wendy’s has a few salad options that will keep your diet paleo. If you only need a snack, order the Garden Side Salad. This dish is made entirely and exclusively of vegetables. Omit any dressing, and you’re good to go. However, if your hunger calls for something more sustaining, I recommend trying the Southwest Avocado Salad. You’re probably not surprised to hear this requires some modifications. The salad contains: Lettuce, Pepper jack cheese, Diced tomatoes, Avocado, Bacon, Grilled chicken, Ranch dressing. Make it paleo by removing the cheese and dressing. 

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

Follow him on LinkedIn, Instagram, Quora, Google Guide and Facebook.