Is it easy to follow the paleo diet eating out?
This will probably depend on the country you live in as much as anything else. Many people say it is difficult to find satisfactory paleo food when dining out.
How Well Do You Know The Paleo Diet
This is where a reasonable if not thorough knowledge of what you are allowed to eat on the paleo diet is required. It also requires the waiting staff and chefs to have a thorough knowledge of the food that is being served.
If you are sticking to the strict paleo diet the problems are even harder for you. With the exception of London, Leeds and Manchester there don’t appear to be any paleo restaurants in the UK.
So what happens if you want to eat out and you are not living in an area where paleo restaurants are available? This is where you have to use your own knowledge of what is and isn’t paleo. Evenings are usually not quite so difficult at lunchtimes, because many menus have steak on them.
For a lunchtime menu you need to be looking towards salads but beware of those that come dressed. You need to ask for no dressing unless you can find out exactly what is in the dressing. One of the main problems with cooked foods is the cooking method, particularly if it is baked, broiled (fried) or grilled.
Where To Look For Paleo Restaurants
I believe the problem is not as severe in the United States as there are some Paleo restaurants but that is certainly not the case in the UK. If you are on the Paleo diet and you want to stick to it eating out takes a lot of questions of the restaurant staff.
One place to start looking would of course be on the internet. I did that for my local area and couldn’t believe what I found. All the restaurants listed were those that offered gluten free foods, a lot different to a paleo option. If I were a few years younger I would start my own paleo restaurant, as I am so restricted as to when and where I can eat.
When you do find somewhere then study the menu and if the ingredients are not listed then you will have to ask your server if the foods you want to avoid are in the meal you would like to eat.
Paleo in the UK is still very much in its infancy. With such a small market there are very few restaurants or cafe’s that serve true paleo food. There are many nationwide eateries but these survive on serving pre-frozen and microwaved meals, so generally there is not a chef on site just a microwave operative.
Unfortunately, here in the UK the frozen food market and the serving of it is of course cheaper than hiring chefs to look after your nutrition. Yes a lot of this is down to the public acceptance of such food being served to them in some of the restaurants.
If you are determined to stick to your paleo diet when you eat out you have to be willing to interrogate the restaurant staff to ensure you will be getting what you want.
What To Look For In The Restaurant
Many restaurants will be using vegetable oils as their cooking medium. They may also be using flour to dredge fried foods like chicken. Even something like a liver casserole is likely to have had flour to dredge the meat and the flour may also be used as a thickening agent. You need to be constantly aware of what is used in professional kitchens that you may not use at home.
A favorite would be grilled chicken and salad with no dressing or grilled steak with salad again with no dressing. If you want a sauce with your steak then you will have to make sure the sauce only has ingredients you are willing to eat. If you are determined to have a sauce then you may have to make a compromise with your paleo diet.
I am never willing to do this so I generally ask for no sauces or dressings with my meal. I will allow myself to have sweet potato hash or sweet potato fries as I am on the slightly more relaxed paleo diet rather than being strict paleo. So this is something you can look out for when eating out.
Certainly here in the UK it is not easy to follow the paleo diet eating out! You need to be fully aware of what you can and cannot eat and generally you have to ask the chef specific questions to make sure what you are eating will be paleo.