Eating Out While Maintaining a Paleo diet

You have surely heard lately talk about the Paleo diet, one that promises a significant loss of kilos and which can also protect your body against modern illnesses like diabetes, heart disease and even some types of cancer. This diet is based on two major components: foods of animal origin and natural plants, without dairy and sweets.

In big lines, the Paleo diet includes fish, eggs, chicken, turkey, duck, fruits of any kind, fresh or nuts, seeds and vegetables grown without fertilizers and other additives that could modify their structure.

Ideas for snacks You thought it would be hard to include snacks while on a Paleo diet? You have, in fact, a whole range from where to choose from, either preparing your own or buying them from the list of Paleo friendly products. Here are some examples of what you could take with you when leaving home or getting on the way:

  • Nuts — come very handy when you’re on the run and need a quick crunch before work. Just toss a handful of mixed nuts in a baggie and you’ll be good to go.
  • Jerky — mind you, not all types of jerky are allowed on the Paleo diet, they have to be sugar and soy sauce free. You could go for the brand, as they contain only the allowed ingredients.
  • Fresh or dried fruit — be generous with the fresh ones, but be careful with the dried ones, as they are high in sugar.
  • Paleo People Granola — like replacements for the classic breakfast of cereal.
  • Slices of deli meat — turkey, roast beef or ham slices.
  • Olives — are really a favorite Paleo snack.
  • Grilled peaches — if you’re skeptical about the taste and you haven’t tried them yet, this might be a good time to do it, since they are delicious!
  • Cherry tomatoes with ham — easy to bag and easier to snack on!

Getting by in restaurants You’re not sure if the restaurant you want to go to could offer what you need to maintain your Paleo diet? Don’t worry, just go online and browse the menu. Most restaurants have their menu online, so you can decide from home what you’ll have. Restaurants that offer BQ, Mediterranean/Greek, Middle Eastern, and steak restaurants are always a safe choice, since they offer kebabs, steaks or seafood.

As you want to avoid gluten, you need to go right out and say it when ordering. If you don’t want to complicate things by telling the story of the diet you’re on, just say you’re allergic to gluten and everything will be resolved right away.

Other things to be mindful of are:

  • Inquire if the dish you want to order is breaded.
  • Ask what cooking oil they use and if possible, say you would prefer to go with olive oil, since you don’t really have a chance of finding too many restaurants offering coconut oil.
  • Keep in mind that you need to stay away from sugar as much as possible. If you want to drink coffee after your meal, for example, ask if they have any natural sweeteners, like Stevia or Yacon Syrup.
  • Try to get as many vegetables as possible instead of potatoes and be sure to say no corn.
  • Also keep in mind that you have to stay away from dairy products, so make sure you tell your waiter that. Usually saying you’re allergic works everywhere and it’s a safe bet they’re going to try to accommodate you.

What exactly should you order

Your best options for getting protein would be to go with steamed or grilled fish / seafood or lean cuts or red mean. Since you can’t control where the restaurant gets the meat from, their choice will probably have come from a factory where the animals consumed toxins and were not grass-fed, which doesn’t help your diet.

You can look for grilled chicken (without the skin) and fattier cuts of red meat. Make sure the meat wasn’t cooked in heavy oils. If you think that, then you would better not order and go for something lighter. Grilled meat is cooked directly over heat, so not only will the protein remain, but it will also be healthier.

Steamed meat and veggies and really good for you, just keep in mind to ask about the seasoning, as it shouldn’t include wheat, soy, sugar and other ingredients in these categories.

Sautéed foods are cooked in a small amount of fat and you’ll find this is how most vegetables are being cooked in restaurants. There are two options here: take a small portion of veggies or ask for them to be cooked with water and served without a dressing.

So you see, the choice is quite large when thinking of eating out while on a Paleo diet, you just have to be mindful of certain things and know what to avoid!

Originally published at on October 10, 2014.