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The Definitive Guide to Traveling on a Paleo Diet®

By Stephanie Vuolo, B.A.
April 8, 2015
The Definitive Guide to Traveling on a Paleo Diet® image

Do you find it a challenge to maintain your Paleo Diet® when away from home? Traveling on a Paleo Diet can feel daunting, whether you travel on a regular basis or only once in awhile. However, once you learn how to manage on the road it will become instinctive in how you prepare for future travel.

Fortunately, we’re here to help with a few simple tricks to help you keep on target with healthy eating habits when you’re away from your regular routine that extends beyond subsisting on dried fruit and nuts the entire time.

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Paleo options, such as lettuce wrapped burgers, steak salads, and scrambled eggs, can be found at fast food retailers; who are usually the only options in transit. It is more difficult to source organic and pastured products, as well as to customize fast foods at airports and railroad stations. For example, you may find a pre-packaged salad containing croutons, Parmesan cheese, and poor quality oil in the dressing. In flight airline meals are based on grains, dairy, and highly processed packaged foods high in both sugar and salt.

One option for short journeys is to use the time en route to practice intermittent fasting, as our hunter- gatherers would have done when unsuccessful in hunting.1 Reducing meal frequency has been shown to have many health benefits, including extended lifespan, improvements in several risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke including a reduction in blood pressure and increased insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular and brain functions. 2

However, if fasting doesn’t appeal to you, it’s best to not rely on the standard fare and to pack your own meals and snacks. Contrary to popular belief, food is allowed through security.3 One way to keep perishable foods, like cooked meat, safe to eat is to pack them in a collapsible lunch cooler, which can be used during the remainder of the trip to keep food fresh.

A sandwich sized bag of either frozen peas (the perfect Paleo use for these legumes), or ice cubes wrapped in paper towels will maintain a cold environment. The paper towels should absorb any liquid from melted ice. However, if the TSA gives you any trouble, discard the ice at security and retain the plastic bag. You can refill it with ice on the airplane or from an airport retailer. Car travel offers greater flexibility as a larger cooler and liquids like bone broths can easily be brought along.

Any Paleo meal can be enjoyed on the road when stored at a proper temperature. Some of our favorite choices are leftover steak or chicken precut into bite sized pieces, kale and romaine lettuce leaves that will maintain their crispness longer, carrot slices, a whole ripe avocado (which cuts easily with a plastic knife), and pears.

Reinvent Room Service

Once you arrive there should be Paleo options to choose from at local restaurants, although it can be difficult to find choices or appetizing variety in some parts of the country. By creating your own in room Paleo dining experience, you’re guaranteed to have fuel available and to be able to resist the temptation of unhealthy hotel snacks.

Your accommodation may allow you to empty the minibar to allow space for your items or they might offer mini refrigerators for a nominal charge. You can also reuse your collapsible cooler and the ice machine at no cost. Some frequent health-conscious travelers even go so far as to bring mini slow cookers into their hotel rooms, but that won’t be necessary with our list of shelf-stable foods.

At your destination, head to the local farmers’ market or grocery store to forage for Paleo delicacies. On a trip to a Hawaiian farmer’s market I was thrilled to find fresh young coconuts, macadamia nut butter, sea beans, and seared Ahi tuna. Who knows what unique Paleo foods are waiting for you to discover on your travels.

The Paleo Diet's guide to shelf stable travel friendly-foods.

  • Homemade no salt added, sugar free beef jerky
  • Pemmican 4
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Tuna with an easy open lid or in a foil pouch
  • Sardines
  • Olives
  • Seaweed, such as nori
  • Homemade/ unsalted kale chips
  • Raw unsalted nuts

Fresh produce

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Cherry
  • Tomatoes
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Tangerines
  • Avocado
  • Jicama
  • Berries


[1] Chakravarthy, Manu V., and Frank W. Booth. "Eating, exercise, and “thrifty” genotypes: connecting the dots toward an evolutionary understanding of modern chronic diseases." Journal of Applied Physiology 96.1 (2004): 3-10.

[2] Mattson, Mark P., and Ruiqian Wan. "Beneficial effects of intermittent fasting and caloric restriction on the cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems." The Journal of nutritional biochemistry 16.3 (2005): 129-137.

[3] Available at: // Accessed on April 1, 2015.

[4] Quigg, J. Michael. "Bison processing at the Rush site, 41TG346, and evidence for pemmican production in the Southern Plains." The Plains Anthropologist(1997): 145-161.

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