Eating healthy and following the Paleo diet may be the newest craze to sweep the health conscious population, but it’s really the oldest way of eating known to mankind. In a nutshell, you eat what our prehistoric ancestors ate: meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, eggs, and nuts/seeds. In this modern world of over-processed food, sticking to the Paleo way of eating can be a challenge and even more so while on vacation, but is extremely beneficial in keeping your energy high and your body functioning well while traveling.
The best way to stay Paleo while traveling is to take personal responsibility for your meals and snacks. Airline food is notoriously bad, and the chances you will get a plate of free-range chicken and fresh vegetables is slim to none. Many airlines do offer more options these days and the diabetic or vegetarian menu options could be your best bet.
Whether you’re flying, taking a train, or traveling by car, bringing your own food works great for Paleo diet adherents. Beef or chicken jerky, fresh vegetables, some fruit, and some nuts or seeds will last you through most journeys.
Do your research before you start your vacation. Some hotels, and even some parts of the country, are more health conscious and more apt to have straightforward, fresh meals. Instead of focusing on the quality of the linen and if the hotel has a mini bar, check out the restaurant options in the hotel and the surrounding area. I have found reading reviews from other travelers with similar interests to be the most helpful. I most recently found a great site that listed reviews for Miami hotels and found one that had a menu with paleo specific options. Looking for these options is very important. Vegetarian restaurants work as well, but steakhouses with organic, free-range beef might be better. Do any pride themselves on offering locally grown produce? That fits wonderfully with the Paleo lifestyle.
Also take note that Paleo-on-the-Go can send your favorite meals ahead of time to your travel destination so if you happen to be in an area where paleo dining options are very limited you don’t have to sacrifice your health for travel.
Once you get to your hotel and have settled in, tucked your cut vegetable bag in the mini-fridge, and washed up, it’s time to explore the local restaurants. If you are traveling alone or with friends, you won’t have a problem frequenting one you may find that offers quality meat and fresh vegetables. If you are on business, or if you are forced to go to a restaurant you would not normally pick, you might have problems. The worst for the Paleo diet eating style are probably casual Chinese and Italian restaurants.
In all cases, stick to the basics you know and love when you eat Paleo, no matter where you are in the world. Ask for meat and fish without sauce. If there are no plain vegetable options, a salad bar or simple side salad without dressing will work for you.
With careful planning and a firm knowledge of the Paleo way of eating, you can enjoy great food on vacation without compromising the benefits to your health.
Cole lives in New York and attended Florida Gulf Coast University. He is an avid traveler and foodie.