How to Eat Paleo on a Road Trip
by Tasha Hackett
Hi everyone! Before you skip this because you’re not a fan of paleo diets. WAIT!! STOP!! This is still for you. Just pretend you like to eat fresh, wholesome foods. Foods that give you fuel and energy and build you up instead of tear you down. Paleo, or any special diet, or budget, or lifestyle that includes not eating fast food junk can be overwhelming at home. But eating paleo on a road trip? Is it even possible? Yep. It is. I’ll show how!
Here’s how I survive road trips eating paleo:
Eat a solid breakfast and plan ahead.
If you’re anything like me, you might be used to making sure all the kids have breakfast and snacks available, but you forget to feed yourself? Okay! If you’re on a special food plan, that’s not going to work anymore. I fry up a great skillet of eggs and fresh onions, toss in a few cups of spinach at the end to wilt, mix in an avocado and salsa… yes, it takes at least 15 minutes. But so totally worth it.
No chance of stopping for donuts on the way out of town because I have great food for fuel in me and I feel great! I plan ahead when possible. Am I going to still be on the road for the next meal? Where can I get food? The answers to those questions will guide what I bring with me and where I plan my longer stops.
Stop at grocery stores and canned meat is OK!
If I’m going to be on the road during the next meal and I haven’t already packed food, then I stop at a grocery store! Ben and I started doing this for budget reasons when we were first married and we loved it. We could spend $25 on “luxury” food items, and it would last us a meal and snacks or more. We’d grab fresh deli meat and cheese, fruits, veggies, and other fun snacks. But now that I’m driven by my health and not by the budget, grocery stores are still the place for me to go to find food. (Pre-made salads, guac, Nut-Thins, meat, fruit and veggies, Larabars.) And here’s a neat tip… canned meat. Though it’s not amazing, it’s protein and calories and energy. Ever tried opening a can of chicken and digging in? I dare ya. It’s a meat source that you can bring along that doesn’t need refrigeration.
Travel with the blender.
Likely, you’ll be traveling to a place to stay for a few days and you’re going to get hungry while you’re there. If possible, I bring my Blentec with me. Working in the kitchen at a camp earlier this summer was a blast. Baking with everything I needed was purchased for me and staff to wash dishes and someone else to hold my babies? Yes, please! But I knew I’d be surrounded by traditional camp food, and I didn’t want to be grumpy and hungry. Obviously, I needed my chocolate. Therefore, I brought the Blentec and whipped up my go-to chocolate shake for the meals I needed to avoid. (Pizza, lasagna, pancakes, pot pie, etc.)
Know your boundaries and don’t make excuses.
If you’re eating paleo because you want to lose weight… well, you get to decide how strict you want to be. If you’re celiac and you will break out in a terrible rash or be sick the rest of the day if you eat pizza, that requires more careful planning. Road trips can be difficult for elimination diets. I eat paleo for a lot of reasons, but the easiest to explain is the migraines. When I switched to a paleo diet, I very quickly stopped being in pain. They went from 17 days a month to 3-4 days a month. I tolerate oats and other gluten-free grains in moderation. I don’t react to corn chips or small amounts of cheese. But ice-cream? No way. Because the headaches are so severe I don’t even crave tasting the “banned” foods anymore. Clearly, I’m human—I have my moments when I’m sad about not being able to enjoy a cinnamon roll, but then I remember the amount of pain I used to be in and I go make myself a batch of homemade chocolate and all is right with Tasha’s world again.
Know your WHY.
If you’ve been following Laura for a while you’ve seen the progression from homemade foods, low-sugar foods, organic or non-organic, simple meals, we love people more than food… and it’s all wonderful! And Laura knows her why. If I was on a diet for the fun of it… I would have a hard time following through. But knowing that I’m on a “diet” for very specific health reasons makes a huge difference. Otherwise, why would I bother with paleo on a road trip? Whatever the reason you’ve made it this far into this article: Do you know why you eat the way you eat? Why do we stop at a fast food restaurant? Do we think it’s going to be cheaper? Faster? Tastier? I challenge you to think about why you eat what you eat and what you might want to change. Depending on your why, you might be able to splurge and have a treat on a road trip! Have a treat and enjoy every bite of it.
Traveling soon? Whatcha gonna eat?!
Tasha Hackett is friend of Laura and author of Bluebird on the Prairie. Tasha spends most of her time with four chatty children that she homeschools and a fun-loving, supportive husband. They give her the kind of love people write books about. Find out more about her and her historical Christian romance at www.TashaHackett.com. Her novel is available wherever books are sold and she loves to speak about the novel at libraries and other bookish events.