As a kid growing up I loved the show Scoobie-Doo and believe it or not it actually taught me some valuable life lessons; especially when it comes to being prepared for the munchies. Whoaa, I know what you’re thinking but I’m being serious here, the real munchies, those times when you’re caught without a meal and starv’n Marv’n (no offense to any Marvin’s out there).
I use to really struggle to stay Paleo while traveling.
Trying to find healthy alternatives while on the road, airport, and at restaurants was such a headache. I found myself always trying to find some amazing Paleotastic meal when all I really needed was to keep it simple and stay with the basics. Below are some hacks I’ve come across over the years that I wanted to share with you all so you can keep your Paleo-swerve going when you hit the road.
SNACK ATTACK: STAYING HEALTHY IN A PINCH
It’s going to happen now and then. You’ll loose track of time and forget to prepare your meals, go dining out with friends, have to stop at a gas station because you’re starving, but that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel on your healthy eating plan. This is a great opportunity to get creative with your food and create some amazing concoctions.
But first, make sure you are taking the steps day in and day out to be ready for anything.
Cook In Bulk
Instead of cooking one meal at a time why not cook enough for the next three to four days or even for the week?
Pre cook meat and separate it into Tupperware.
With veggies you can eat most raw so chopping them up and separating them into individual containers is always a great idea or if you prefer cooked veggies you can had a few tablespoons of water and heat them in the microwave quickly. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and you are ready to roll.
Another big help is cooking pots of Chili or Stir-fry. You can usually cook enough to last you for the week. These come in handy when you need something quick and don’t have time to cook
This is going to take work. You’re going to have to plan ahead of time. The biggest reason people fail is because they don’t plan ahead of time. Start your day or end your night with a GET HEALTHY CHECKLIST. This is a great way to make sure you are ready for the next day, road trips, travel, and other hiccups that may present themselves.
- Are all my meals and snacks prepared for tomorrow
- What are some possible hiccups in the road tomorrow that might cause a miss step in my Paleo plan? How can I be prepared for them?
- Do I have a water container or two full and ready to roll with me throughout the day?
PALEO-FY YOUR AUTOMOBILE
There’s a good chance you spend a lot of your time either commuting. There has been many times when I’ve found myself thirsty as all get up or starving beyond belief.
Keep bottled water in your car at all-times. Often when you are hungry it is really just thirst that needs to be quenched.
But just in case some car friendly foods are raw nuts and beef jerky. You can often keep them in the glove compartment and they will be just fine.
Keep some utensils in there is well. Plastic forks, knives, spoons, and napkins can come in pretty handy.
MAKE THE BEST OF THE WORST
You might be Paleo but maybe your kids are not (think about converting them please). So a McDonald’s trip might be in your future. You might have to eat meat or veggies cooked in seed oils, but try to make the best of the worst.
- Grab your burger with out the bun
- Avoid sauces of all kinds (ketchup, soy, mustard, mayo, dressings, etc..). There is usually added sugar or gluten in there somehow.
- If you handle dairy well this is a good opportunity to take in some cheese but don’t over do it. A string cheese or two as a snack in a pinch should be sufficient.
- Berries are a good choice or an apple if in a pinch.
- Stick with proteins and veggies as often as possible.
BEING A GUEST
So your friends are nice enough to house you for a few nights or maybe you’re staying with some family or friends that are not quite Paleo. You want to be a considerate guest and avoid stepping on any toes. Food can become very personal and some can get very defensive if you reject their food.
The most important thing you can do is to let them know well in advance of your lifestyle choices and why you eat the way you do and why exactly it is important to you. Offer to purchase groceries and pitch in with cooking, or see if it’s possible for you to make cook your own separate meals.
If worse comes to worse think about staying in a nearby hotel. The last thing you want to do is have an uncomfortable environment for everyone due to food choices.
Nutritional approaches can be as polarizing as politics and religion. If you want others to respect your nutritional choices you also have to accept theirs.
When you’re on the road or if you just like to get out and grab a meal from time to time with some pals restaurants can be a little confusing for some when it comes to making solid Paleo choices.
Lets make it clear that our first option is always to prepare meals ahead of time and to eat homemade food whenever possible. However, there will be times when you feel like the need to take a break from cooking, have a business lunch, just plain forget, or numerous other reasons.
This is no excuse to fall off the wagon and abandon your healthy eating plan. This is the perfect time to test yourself, apply what you’ve learned, and to make healthy choices. Who knows, you it may even give you the opportunity to share your new healthy strategies with your lunch date and add a little sum’n-sum’n to the conversation.
Eating out and sticking to your plan is actually very simple. Most restaurants have plenty of healthy options if you just take the time to scan the menu. Most have a “healthy menu or even gluten free section.” Take a look at it to see if there are any options that fit what we are looking for as defined by this guide. Here are a few tips to make sure you dine out healthy.
- Order items from the Real Food Chart. Emphasize lean protein sources and salmon.
- Ask them to remove (politely) any carbohydrates (i.e.: potato, rice, bread, etc…) and instead fill the plate with veggies. If you just happened to workout (within the hour) a sweet potato should be fine or fruit if it is a breakfast. Just enjoy it plain and not fully loaded.
- See if they can prepare any of the food with olive oil. Most restaurants use industrial seed oil… YIKES!
- Instead of an appetizer or free bread ask if you can have a plate of veggies or side salad.
- If the serving is really large ask if you can have a to-go box right away and actually put half of the meal in the box before you start to eat.
- Drink water only at the meal and try to finish one glass before you start eating.
An example dinner/lunch out would be:
- Double serving of vegetables or big ass salad
- Hopefully prepared in olive oil (if not, it’s ok)
An example breakfast out would be:
- Omelet (ask how many eggs, 3-4 is perfect)
- Loaded with veggies (go cheese free)
- If it comes with pancakes, toast, etc… ask them to 86 it and add a small side of fruit preferably berries.
But what if I am going to a specific ethnic restaurant?
If you’re a human being you probably go out to eat with friends, family, or strangers if that’s your thing. Restaurant food cam wreck havoc on a nutrition plan. Many folks I know just say the heck with it when they go out to eat and end up overdoing and really falling off the wagon. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Below I took the guess-work out of what to order when at various ethnic restaurants. You might have to play a game of 20 questions with your waiter or waitress but don’t stress. You are paying for service after all right?
Take this opportunity to share what you are learning with others around you. Suggest a healthier restaurant that will be able to provide you with options that will fit your nutrition plan.
Don’t be afraid to speak up while there. Ask politely if they can prepare a dish a certain way, to take away items, or add healthier items to it. If they can not, don’t stress. Have you been eating really well 80 to 90% of the time? If you have, a little off the wagon will not kill you.
Do your research before you go by hopping online and checking out the restaurant’s menu. You can also take advantage of a really cool app called Paleo GoGo which will recommend Paleo options for over 300 of the leading chain restaurants.
HEALTHY SNACKS WHEN YOU’RE IN A PINCH
Whether at the airport, gas station, or little mom and pop there are always some easy Paleo options you can grab. Make sure to invest a little change in a decent cooler so that you can easily store perishables for a day if needed.
- Smoked Salmon: Make sure it is soy-free
- Nuts: Emphasize macadamia, hazelnut, and almonds
- Raw veggies: Celery, broccoli, Bell peppers, cucumber, etc…
- Fruits: Emphasize berries (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, etc..) limit tropical fruit as much as possible (ie: banana, mango, papaya, pineapple, etc..)
- Grass-fed jerky: Usually will have to order or get at the farmers market. Store bought stuff contains all kinds of junk.
- Cheese: If you tolerate dairy well.
- Hard-boiled eggs: Store in a cool place
- Olives: Goes well with raw veggies, hard cheeses, smoked salmon
- Canned salmon or tuna: Use in a lettuce wrap, mix with avocado, or olives
- Salads: You can almost always get a salad somewhere, even a gas station. You may have to eat it dry but check to see if there is some olive oil or coconut oil available.
If you’re traveling by car make sure to stay active by pulling over every few hours to loosen the limbs a little bit. You can easily put together your own bodyweight routine by using the DIY workout chart or taking advantage of some of the groovy workout we have put together on this site. Hell, you can even get a workout in if you’re stuck at the DMV.
LOOK FOR HEALTHY, NOT AMAZING.
Beggars can’t be choosers especially when on the road or when in a pinch. Instead of looking for the amazing Paleo friendly snack or meal while traveling or on the run opt instead for the simple options that will get you to the next meal you can prepare yourself. Remember to focus on consistency above all else and make the best choices you can in any given situation. The food you eat is always a choice, the only way it gets in your mouth is if you put it there.
Commit to being consistent this week in all your ventures What are some ways you can guarantee to you take one small step towards whatever goal it is you are trying to achieve?
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