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Whole30-Friendly Restaurants: Where to Dine Out While Sticking to Your Diet

The Whole30 programme is a popular 30-day diet plan designed to reset your body’s eating habits and eliminate potentially inflammatory foods from your diet. While the programme is designed to be followed at home, many people wonder if they can eat out while on Whole30. Eating out on Whole30 can be a challenge because many restaurant dishes contain grains, dairy, sugar, and other ingredients not allowed in the programme. However, with a little planning and preparation, it is possible to eat out while following the Whole30 guidelines.

In this article, we offer tips for eating out on the Whole30, including some Whole30-friendly restaurant options, both chain and local. We will also discuss how to make modifications to menu items and provide guidance on navigating social situations while on Whole30. With these tips and strategies, you can enjoy eating out and still meet your Whole30 goals.

Tips for eating out with Whole30

Eating out on Whole30 can be a challenge, but with a little planning and preparation, you can still enjoy eating out while sticking to your dietary goals. Here are some tips for eating out on Whole30:

  1. Research restaurant menus in advance: Before you go out to eat, take some time to research restaurant menus online. Look for dishes that are naturally Whole30 compliant, such as grilled fish or meat with steamed vegetables. Many restaurants also offer gluten-free or paleo options that can be modified to meet Whole30 guidelines.

  2. Talk to the server or chef: When you arrive at a restaurant, let your server know that you are following the Whole30 programme and ask if they can accommodate your dietary needs. Many chefs are willing to make changes to dishes to make them Whole30-friendly, such as substituting a side of rice for extra vegetables.

  3. Avoid sauces and dressings: Many sauces and dressings contain added sugar or dairy, which are not allowed in the Whole30 programme. Instead, ask for olive oil and vinegar, or bring your own compliant salad dressing to add to your meal.

  4. Stick to simple preparations: The more complex a dish, the more likely it is to contain non-compliant ingredients. Stick to simple preparations, such as grilled or roasted meats and vegetables, to ensure you stay within the programme guidelines.

  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: If you’re not sure whether a dish is Whole30-friendly, don’t be afraid to ask. Ask your server or chef about the ingredients and preparation methods used in a dish to make sure it meets your dietary needs.

  6. Bring your own snacks: If you are going to a social event or restaurant where Whole30-friendly options may be limited, bring your own snacks to ensure you have something to eat. Nuts, seeds and fresh fruit are all good options.

By following these tips, you can enjoy eating out and still meet your Whole30 goals. Remember that planning and preparation are key, and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions to make sure your dietary needs are being met.

Whole30-friendly restaurant chains

If you are following the Whole30 programme, you may be wondering which restaurant chains offer Whole30-friendly options. While it can be challenging to find compliant dishes at some restaurants, there are several chains that offer menu items that fit within the programme guidelines. Here are some Whole30-friendly restaurant chains to consider:

  1. Chipotle: Chipotle is a great option for Whole30-compliant meals. You can order a salad bowl with lettuce, grilled chicken or steak, fajita vegetables and guacamole. Leave out the rice, beans, cheese and sour cream.

  2. Panera Bread: Panera Bread offers several Whole30-compliant options, including the Steak and Arugula Sandwich (no bread), the Roasted Turkey and Avocado BLT (no bread and mayo), and the Grilled Chicken Greek Salad (no feta cheese).

  3. Zoe’s Kitchen: Zoe’s Kitchen is a Mediterranean-inspired chain that offers several Whole30-compliant dishes, including grilled chicken kabobs, salmon kabobs, and a variety of salads. Skip the pita bread and hummus.

  4. Chip’s Kitchen: This breakfast and lunch chain offers several Whole30-compliant options, including veggie, bacon and avocado omelets and a variety of grilled chicken or steak salads.

  5. True Food Kitchen: True Food Kitchen is a health-focused restaurant chain that offers several Whole30-compliant dishes, including the Grass-Fed Burger (no bun), the Ancient Grains Bowl (no grains), and the Mediterranean Chopped Salad (no feta cheese).

  6. Freshii: Freshii is a fast-casual chain that offers several Whole30-compliant options, including the market wrap (without the wrap), the cobb salad (without the cheese and dressing), and the buddha satay bowl (without the peanut sauce).

  7. Sweetgreen: Sweetgreen is a salad chain that offers several Whole30-compliant salads, including the Kale Caesar (no dressing and croutons), the Spicy Thai (no dressing and cashews), and the Harvest Bowl (no quinoa and goat cheese).

It’s important to note that not all menu items at these chains are Whole30 compliant, so be sure to check the ingredients and make changes if necessary. Also, always speak to your waiter or chef to make sure your dietary needs are being met.

Finding Whole30-friendly options at local restaurants

While chain restaurants may offer some Whole30-friendly options, it’s also possible to find compliant dishes at local restaurants. Here are some tips for finding Whole30-friendly options at local restaurants:

  1. Research menus in advance: Many local restaurants now post their menus online, so take some time to research menus in advance. Look for dishes that are naturally Whole30 compliant, such as grilled or roasted meats and vegetables, and avoid dishes that contain non-compliant ingredients, such as breaded or fried foods.

  2. Talk to the server or chef: When you arrive at a restaurant, let your server know that you are following the Whole30 programme and ask if they can accommodate your dietary needs. Many chefs are willing to modify dishes to make them Whole30-friendly, such as substituting a side of rice for extra vegetables.

  3. Look for farm-to-table restaurants: Farm-to-table restaurants focus on local, seasonal ingredients, which are often naturally Whole30-friendly. Look for restaurants that emphasise fresh, local ingredients and ask about their cooking methods to ensure they meet the programme guidelines.

  4. Avoid sauces and dressings: Many sauces and dressings contain added sugar or dairy, which are not allowed in the Whole30 programme. Instead, ask for olive oil and vinegar, or bring your own compliant salad dressing to add to your meal.

  5. Make modifications: If you find a dish that’s close to Whole30, don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. For example, you could ask for a salad without the croutons or cheese, or ask for your meat to be grilled instead of fried.

  6. Be polite and patient: Remember that not all restaurants may be familiar with the Whole30 programme, so be polite and patient when talking to your server or chef. Explain your dietary needs clearly and be prepared to ask questions to ensure your meal is compliant.

  7. Support local businesses: By eating at local restaurants that offer Whole30-friendly options, you support small businesses and promote healthier eating in your community.

By following these tips, you can find Whole30-friendly options at local restaurants and enjoy eating out while still meeting your dietary goals. Remember that planning and preparation are key, and don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions to make sure your dietary needs are being met.

Make changes to menu items

When eating out on the Whole30, it’s important to remember that not all menu items will be compliant. However, many restaurants are willing to make modifications to dishes to make them Whole30-friendly. Here are some tips for making changes to menu items:

  1. Ask for grilled or broiled meats: Many restaurant dishes are breaded or fried, which is not allowed in the Whole30 programme. Instead, ask for grilled or roasted meats, which are usually compliant.

  2. Substitute grains for extra vegetables: Many dishes come with a side of rice or other grains that are not allowed in the Whole30 programme. Ask if you can replace the grains with extra vegetables or a side salad.

  3. Skip the cheese and dairy: Cheese and dairy are not allowed in the Whole30 programme, so be sure to skip these ingredients when ordering. If a dish includes cheese, ask if it can be omitted.

  4. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side: Many sauces and dressings contain added sugar or dairy, which are not allowed in the Whole30 programme. Ask for sauces and dressings on the side so you can control how much you consume.

  5. Avoid non-compliant ingredients: Avoid non-compliant ingredients such as bread, pasta and soy sauce. Ask if dishes can be prepared without these ingredients or if there is a compliant alternative.

  6. Bring your own condiments: If you have a favourite Whole30-compliant condiment, such as hot sauce or mayonnaise, consider bringing it with you to the restaurant. This will ensure that you have a compliant option to add flavour to your meal.

  7. Make simple changes: Don’t be afraid to make simple changes to menu items, such as asking for a burger without a bun or a salad without croutons. Most restaurants are happy to accommodate these requests.

  8. Be polite and patient: Remember that making changes to menu items can take extra time and effort on the part of the kitchen staff, so be polite and patient when making requests. Thank your server or chef for their help in accommodating your dietary needs.

By making changes to menu items, you can enjoy eating out on the Whole30 while still following the programme guidelines. Always check with your server or chef to make sure your changes are compliant and meet your dietary needs.

Whole30-friendly fast food options

While fast food may not be the first place you think of when it comes to Whole30-friendly options, there are several fast food chains that offer compliant menu items. Here are some Whole30-friendly fast food options to consider:

  1. Five Guys: At Five Guys you can order a burger without the bun and toppings such as lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles. Be sure to skip the cheese and condiments as they may contain non-compliant ingredients.

  2. In-N-Out Burger: In-N-Out Burger offers a “protein style” option where the bun is replaced with lettuce leaves. You can order a burger with lettuce, tomato, onion and mustard or ketchup (both compliant).

  3. Chipotle: Chipotle offers several Whole30-compliant options, including a salad bowl with lettuce, grilled chicken or steak, fajita vegetables and guacamole. Skip the rice, beans, cheese, and sour cream.

  4. Panera Bread: Panera Bread offers several Whole30-compliant options, including the Steak and Arugula Sandwich (no bread), the Roasted Turkey and Avocado BLT (no bread and mayo), and the Grilled Chicken Greek Salad (no feta cheese).

  5. Chick-fil-A: At Chick-fil-A, you can order a grilled chicken sandwich without the bun and toppings like lettuce and tomato. Be sure to skip the sauce as it may contain non-compliant ingredients.

  6. Wendy’s: Wendy’s offers several Whole30-compliant options, including a grilled chicken sandwich without the bun, a side salad with grilled chicken, and the chili (without cheese or sour cream).

  7. Subway: At Subway you can order a salad bowl with lettuce, spinach, grilled chicken or steak and a variety of vegetables. Leave out the cheese and dressing and opt for oil and vinegar instead.

  8. KFC: KFC offers a grilled chicken option that is Whole30 compliant. You can order a grilled chicken breast with a side of green beans or a side salad with oil and vinegar dressing.

It’s important to note that not all menu items at these fast food chains are Whole30 compliant, so be sure to check the ingredients and make changes if necessary. Also, always speak to your waiter or cashier to make sure your dietary needs are being met.

Navigating social situations on Whole30

Following the Whole30 diet can be challenging, especially in social situations where food is involved. Here are some tips for navigating social situations while on Whole30:

  1. Plan ahead: If you know you will be attending a social event where non-compliant food is served, plan ahead by bringing your own compliant dish or snack to share with others. This will ensure that you have something to eat and may also introduce others to healthier food options.

  2. Communicate with others: Let your friends and family know that you are following the Whole30 programme and explain what it involves. This will help them understand why you may not be eating certain foods and may encourage them to support your nutritional goals.

  3. Offer to help with meal planning: If you are attending a dinner party or other social event where food is served, offer to help plan or prepare the meal. This will give you more control over what is served and may also make it easier to ensure that compliant options are available.

  4. Focus on the social aspect: Remember that social events are not just about the food. Focus on the social aspect of the event and enjoy spending time with friends and family rather than stressing about what you can and cannot eat.

  5. Be prepared to make adjustments: In some social situations, it may be difficult to find compliant options. Be prepared to make changes to menu items, such as asking for a salad without cheese or dressing.

  6. Don’t be afraid to say no: If someone offers you non-compliant food, don’t be afraid to say no. Politely refuse and explain that you are following the Whole30 programme and cannot eat certain foods.

  7. Bring your own snacks: If you are going to a social event where Whole30 options may be limited, bring your own snacks to ensure you have something to eat. Nuts, seeds and fresh fruit are all good options.

Remember that the Whole30 programme is a personal choice and it’s important to prioritise your health and nutrition goals. Navigating social situations while on Whole30 can be challenging, but with some planning and communication, it’s possible to enjoy social events while still following the programme guidelines.

Conclusion

In conclusion, following the Whole30 diet doesn’t have to mean giving up eating out. With some planning, research and communication, it’s possible to find Whole30-friendly options at chain restaurants, local eateries and even fast food outlets. By modifying menu items, bringing your own snacks, and communicating with others, you can navigate social situations while on the Whole30 and still enjoy spending time with friends and family.

It’s important to remember that the Whole30 programme is a personal choice and the guidelines may not work for everyone. If you have any concerns about your dietary needs or restrictions, it’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional or registered dietitian. In addition, always check ingredient labels and ask questions when eating out to make sure your meals meet the guidelines.

Overall, eating out on a Whole30 diet may take some extra effort and planning, but it’s definitely possible. With some creativity and flexibility, you can enjoy delicious, Whole30-compliant meals while still following the programme guidelines.

FAQs

Q1: Are there any fast food chains that offer Whole30-compliant options?

Yes, there are several fast food chains that offer Whole30-compliant options, including Five Guys, In-N-Out Burger, Chipotle, Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, Subway, and KFC. However, it’s important to check the ingredients and make modifications as necessary.

Q2: Can I find Whole30-compliant options at chain restaurants?

Yes, many chain restaurants offer Whole30-compliant options, including Panera Bread, Chipotle, Zoe’s Kitchen, True Food Kitchen, Freshii, and Sweetgreen. However, not all menu items will be compliant, so it’s important to check the ingredients and make modifications as necessary.

Q3: How can I navigate social situations while on Whole30?

It can be challenging to navigate social situations while on Whole30, but there are several strategies that can help. Planning ahead, communicating with others, offering to help with meal planning, and bringing your own snacks are all great options. Additionally, don’t be afraid to make modifications to menu items or politely decline non-compliant food.

Q4: What should I do if I can’t find Whole30-compliant options at a restaurant?

If you can’t find Whole30-compliant options at a restaurant,you can always make modifications to menu items, such as asking for a salad without the dressing or a burger without the bun. Additionally, you can bring your own compliant snacks or eat beforehand to ensure that you have something to eat. It’s also important to communicate with your server or the chef to ensure that your dietary needs are being met.

Q5: Is it possible to find Whole30-compliant options at local restaurants?

Yes, it’s possible to find Whole30-compliant options at local restaurants. Researching menus in advance, speaking with the server or chef, looking for farm-to-table restaurants, and making modifications to menu items are all great strategies for finding compliant options. Additionally, supporting local businesses is a great way to promote healthier eating options in your community.