Food & Drink Magazine

Paleo Takeout Ideas

By Grayson Hayes @cavemandietblog
paleo takeout

paleo takeout

Paleo Takeout Ideas

You could not plan ahead and did not bring a lunch to work.  Your kids are starving from soccer practice,  or your significant other has a dinner request from a place he/she loves . In the Paleo world, when all else fails, there’s always “takeout”: the scary word. That’s where we come in, here are some tips on how to navigate takeout on Paleo:

The trouble with takeout

Take out is fine, first of all. Do not think that because our cavemen did not eat out, we cannot do it either.  In fact, Paleo is a permissive diet, believe it or not. Most of the foods that people tend restrict due to calories , such as ribs, chicken wings, bacon, eggs and ham are all allowed!  Moreover, you can have as much of it as you want!  So it is not that Paleo does not “allow” you to eat out. The trouble with takeout is what goes IN the food that you order.

The oil issue 

In a recent post, 5 types of cooking oils used for common foods,  we talked about the process of pressing certain oils to make them edible.  We learned several life lessons from this article:

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  1. Canola is not even the name of a vegetable, but a company; the oil was not made originally for  human consumption, either.
  2. Cotton seed oil comes from cotton seed. How did you last eat your cotton?
  3. Palm tree oil has the potential of deforesting large sections of land
  4. Grapeseed oil is basically ragweed oil. Appetizing? Not quite.

Our oil conversation also led us to realize that the cheapest the oil is to make, the more companies will use it to fry, cook, preserve, flavor, or just help bulk up foods.  While we only think about the food we eat, have we ever given a second thought to the substances that food is cooked with?

Finally, we learned that restaurants all over the world simply go with the highest bidder to get their oils. They will definitely not go with coconut or olive oils due to their fine pressing and confection processes. Therefore, what exactly is it that you are eating when going out?

The peanut issue

Another Paleo problem is the use of peanut oil, or peanut products, in the production or cooking of foods.  See, peanuts are not really Paleo nuts. Almonds, however, are.  Also, peanuts are natural allergens for some, causing anything from breathing to stomach disorders.  While we can only control the surface of what goes on in restaurants, we cannot deny the possibility of our foods getting cooked in the same pans, grills, and hot plates as dishes prepared with non-Paleo products, or with other allergens such as dairy and yeast.

Still, you have to eat out sometime

Indeed! And if we are going to set aside the common troubles with take out, you can still manage to get a meal that is both healthy, enjoyable and in tandem with the lifestyle that you wish to live. Here are some of the best take out ideas in typical restaurants:


Banana Paleo Pancakes Featured Image
Fast Food Places – Many of these chains offer a “low carb” breakfast option which consists on eggs and bacon or eggs and sausage in a bowl.  Hold the cheese and it can be a very enjoyable and filling breakfast.

Griddle houses/Pancake houses/Waffle places- These places are great at making actual egg omelets with real eggs.  Made to order, you can add your entire veggie count of the day, plus add steak or chicken, too. Not a bad choice with less calories than the usual sugary fare.


Everywhere- salads of course, are probably the best choice. However, ordering burgers and taking off the bun works the same way.

Also look for in both restaurants and Supermarket delis:


  • Broth-based soup options such as French onion (minus the layer of cheese), regular chicken soup,  beef broth,  and vegetable soups
  • Steaks and salads
  • Lemon pepper chicken and vegetables
  • Ribs with cauliflower, broccoli, collard greens, green beans, asparagus


Dinner menus are easier to manipulate than lunch because there are more side options available in the vegetable department. For example, a spinach quiche with no crust, which is Paleo, can be paired with any dinner meat portion.

A typical Paleo meal in an average American fare restaurant could include the following


  • paleo dinner recipes oven fried chicken featured image
    Wings (rubbed, not sauced, unless hot sauce) with crudités (celery, carrot sticks- dip in hot mustard)
  • Tapenade, or crush olives
  • Chicken satay (avoid peanut sauce, substitute with Sriracha or omit the sauce altogether)
  • Chicken or vegetable soup


  • Any meat, any veggies. Add guacamole or fresh avocados.  Use bacon bits for salads and vinaigrettes for dressing.
  • Spiralized veggie salads, squash-based meals, sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, onions
  • Gourmet Pork Rinds are now making a hit in many restaurants for their all natural and low carb content.
  • Ribs, stewed spinach, sautéed mushrooms


  • Fruit sherbets, preferably all-natural
  • Dark chocolate fondue with fruit

What about Mexican?

True, Mexican restaurants have tons of starch-filled, cheese-laden, refried bean stuffed options. Want to hear something funny?  None of those foods are staples of the real Mexican diet.

A typical Mexican meal is actually more Paleo than you think. They may add the corn and flour tortillas, but many dishes do not even require those.  True Mexican meals include:

  • Carnitas, or deep fried cubed pork. Tender and juicy, it goes perfect with a guacamole salad. All Paleo.
  • Fajitas- Perfectly fine for Paleo, just omit the filling tortillas and you will be just fine.
  • Carne asada or pollo asado are meats made in the grill with delicious spices. Again, what better than guacamole and veggies to accompany a rich entrée like that?
  • Menudo- deliciously stewed pork belly in a thick and savory vegetable based soup.
  • Ceviche- a Colombian favorite, this massive seafood salad combines your love for sushi with a taste for lemony Mexican spices in a very filling and satisfying, low calorie, low fat, high protein meal.
  • Camarones a la anything- Shrimp is usually served non breaded in Mexican places, which make them perfect for Paleo practitioners. Order them a la Tequila (with tequila undertones) and guacamole and thank me later.

Wrap Up

As you can see it is possible to get this done.  Order take out and still keep enjoying the benefits of the Paleo lifestyle.  All it needs is a bit of research and the creativity to think outside the box. Enjoy!

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