This post about Whole30 restaurants contains affiliate links.
There are very few “approved” Whole30 restaurants, therefore, for the purposes of this article, I’m going to talk about a few popular restaurants where I personally know you can get a Whole30 compliant meal.
If you’re like me, you like to meet friends for lunch or want to go out to eat with your family on the weekend. I believe just because you are on a special diet doesn’t mean you have to give up your social life. Hey, I eat a special diet year-round (strict gluten-free) so I know a thing or two about not wanting to be left out of the social circle just because of your diet restrictions.
Many people on the Whole30 challenge refuse to eat outside of the home during the challenge, however, I want to go about my normal business and simply adjust accordingly. Of course, I always prefer to eat at home, but it’s just not possible when you have a busy professional and social life!
Zoes Kitchen – Whole30 Approved(R) Restaurant
The only restaurant that I know of (as of the date of publishing) that has a Whole30 approved menu (approved means a restaurant pays some sort of “licensing” fee in order to use the Whole30 logo and name in addition to offer “approved” items) is Zoes Kitchen. In fact, Zoes Kitchen has a decent-sized Whole30 menu.
Zoes Kitchen boasts 250 locations in 20 states… and thank goodness there is one close to me in Denver. I’ve been three three times during the Whole30 challenge, and I always order my favorite meal each and every time – chicken kabobs with double roasted vegetables and the Israeli skhug. Doesn’t this look amazing?!?
Modern Market – Whole30 Restaurant
While Modern Market is not a Whole30 approved restaurant, the menu is full of made of from scratch, clean ingredients. Modern Market has even published a guide to eating Whole30 at Modern Market on its blog!
You can enjoy many of the fresh salads with a few omissions and swaps, and you can even enjoy the delicious and spicy green chili chicken soup. Several homestyle plates and breakfast items are also Whole30 compliant, so you really can enjoy quite a few dishes here!
We were in a rush the other night and I didn’t have time to make dinner, so my husband brought home this for me to enjoy – yummy!
Five Guys – Whole30 Restaurant
You can also enjoy a lettuce wrapped burger at Five Guys without worrying about breaking your Whole30 commitment. The burgers are not cooked in any oil (as you can see on the menu, the burgers contain no allergens).
Don’t be fooled by Internet folks crying foul. While Five Guys uses peanut oil to cook its fries, it does not use ANY oil to cook its burgers. Peanut oil and fries are both off limits anyway, so just don’t get fries and you’ll be fine.
Load your burger will the toppings except be sure to avoid the grilled mushrooms and relish (both contain high fructose corn syrup). Also avoid the ketchup, mayo and BBQ sauce – just bring your own Whole30 approved ketchup from home ( or top your burger with hot sauce instead).
How to Order Anywhere
Many restaurants will happily help you find something to eat. When navigating a menu, look at:
Salads – What swaps can you make? Maybe add an avocado in lieu of the cheese? Avoid bacon as it likely contains sugar. Ask for oil and vinegar instead of dressing, or bring your own Whole30 approved dressing from home.
The Grill – Grilled items are usually cooked only with seasonings and no butter or other oils. Ask for grilled chicken or steak cooked with only olive oil and S&P. Bring your own Whole30 compliant BBQ sauce from home.
Sides – You can enjoy a baked sweet or white potato (no toppings, just ask for a side of olive oil and salt) along with a side salad or grilled veggies.
Brunch – Ask for your eggs to be fried in olive oil vs. butter and ask for homemade pico de gallo, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and avocados on top of the egg with a side of fresh fruit.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Remember, just because it looks Whole30 okay doesn’t mean it is. Even Chili’s fajitas contain milk and soy (despite looking like they’re Whole30 compliant). The more simple and clean you can order, the better. Remember, it’s only for 30 days. You can do this!
Here are some things to avoid when ordering at a restaurant:
- Avoid things cooked in peanut, rice or soy-based oils.
- Avoid dressings and condiments (except hot sauce is usually ok).
- Avoid foods with sauces.
- Avoid anything deep fried – that isn’t in the spirit of the Whole30.
Zoes Kitchen, Modern Market and Five Guys are Whole30 restaurants I have tried and am able to tell you with greater certainty are Whole30 compliant. I’m sure there are many other restaurants out there offering Whole30 items.
Have you found other Whole30 restaurants? Please sound off in the comments?