Can I Take Your Order? Tips on Eating Paleo in a Restaurant

Back when I first started the paleo diet, I didn't find it all that difficult to stay on track. I was eating the way I wanted, and felt my best having committing to a lifestyle that involved eating clean, real food. The only caveat? Going out to eat, an incredibly important tradition for all my friends and I, became more challenging. Did the restaurant have anything paleo-friendly? Would I sound too demanding if I tried to fit the existing menu to my dietary plan? Luckily, as I practiced navigating even the most challenging of menus, I began to develop little tips and tricks to make dining out an easier, more hassle-free experience. Here are a few tips to try to help eating out while sticking to the paleo diet a little easier:

When in doubt, go for the salad - but skip the dressing.

Absent anything else appealing on the menu, salads proved to be a good choice more often than not, especially since most of the ingredients are usually listed already. This makes substitutions relatively easy: "could I have that without the cheese, please?" is a pretty easy request that won't make it too difficult for the kitchen staff or your server. Note, though, that dressings are usually a no-go, as most of the commercially available options include non-paleo ingredients, especially added sugar. If you can't stand the idea of eating a salad without some dressing, ask if it's possible to have a little olive oil drizzled over the top of your greens. 

Double vegetables? Yes, please!

A fairly easy way to turn most entrées paleo is to ask for double vegetables instead of grains. Think about your typical roasted chicken or pork chop dinner. A pretty standard formula is meat, steamed vegetables, and rice or mashed potatoes. Ask your server to sub out the potatoes or rice for an extra portion of those beautiful steamed green beans. 

Pass it off to your friend

Did your salad accidentally come with croutons, or did you somehow end up with mashed potatoes any way? I've found that friends and family usually don't say no to extra food. Instead of feeling trapped eating part of a meal you don't want, someone at your table may be more than happy to take it off your hands. 

Would you like anything to drink? 

You aren't limited to just water. Iced tea, sparkling water, and even some wines (depending on your fitness or personal goals) are all choices that can fit into a paleo meal. 

What if everybody want dessert?

This can sometimes get a little tricky, but I've found that simply asking if the kitchen has any fresh fruit, even if it's not on the menu, can be a good way to get your fix of something sweet. It never hurts to try!

Published on: Wednesday, July 27