Road Trip Photo by averie woodard on Unsplash

Tips and Tricks for Eating Paleo on Your Next Road Trip

Paleo snacks that travel, tips for eating out, and a bonus: stand out Paleo eateries in Portland worth a visit!

As Spring Break approaches, and the last gasps of winter give way to brighter mornings and warmer temperatures, I can feel the boundaries of my world loosening up again.

Winter is full of its own activities and trips, but when Spring arrives, I find myself feeling more spontaneous. Spiriting the family off on a weekend getaway just seems simpler now, and my itch to go on little adventures grows with the length of the day and the thinning of my outerwear.

It's time for a road trip.

Yes, it's true that road trips, particularly ones that include kids, never quite go the way you envision but, hey, the challenge is part of the fun!

One of the hardest parts of a road trip for us? It's the temptation to throw healthy eating habits out the window. Snacking eases boredom and placates children on the drive, and sometimes you have to pop into whatever restaurant or fast food is convenient before things get hangry.

So, after too many gut distressed and guilt-ridden road trips, I've accumulated a few ideas and tips to help keep things healthy, yet still fun and spontaneous. And no, I don't hold myself to 100% Paleo on a road trip. Stuff happens- it's a vacation!


It's always better for your wallet and your health to bring snacks and drinks from home in a little cooler bag. Of course I pack plenty of Paleo Eats bars! 

But it's also fun to make some Paleo snacks at home with the kids.

Here are some tasty options that fit the road trip criteria- simple to prepare, travel well, easy to munch in the car, kid approved, and Paleo!


Honey orange fruit snacks  Jessica Espinoza has a great recipe on her blog, Delicious Obsessions, for Paleo, gluten-free fruit snacks. Experiment with different flavors!


Blackberry-mint fruit roll-ups  Paleo Grubs has a recipe along the same lines as the fruit snacks. The mint adds a nice twist, offsetting the sweet and tangy blackberries. Yum!


Grain-free, nut-free banana granola  Hold the Grain has a great recipe for munchable banana granola made with sunflower seeds, shredded coconut and banana chips.


Paleo trail mix  Nom Nom Paleo offers a nicely balanced and craveable Paleo trail mix recipe with sunflower and almond seeds, dried pineapple, shaved almonds and coconut.


Flax twisty sticks  Let's not forget the savory side of the spectrum. I found a recipe for grain-free and vegan twisty flax sticks on a blog called Allergy Free Alaska. The kids like the fun shape, and they are great for dipping.


This is not to say that we don't hit the gas station convenience store occasionally. You can find some good options in most, like:

High-quality beef jerky


Dark chocolate (look for 80% cacao or better)

Trail mixes (avoid too much sweets)



Eating out

I have found that there are more restaurants with menu items fitting the Paleo lifestyle than without. Some might need a slight adjustment, but it's pretty easy to find something that works. 

With one exception- Italian. Eating Paleo at an Italian restaurant- fuhgettaboutit!

Diners, or "American" style family restaurants have lots of options- eggs, bacon, omelets, burgers without the bun, meat and veggies.

Mexican food can be pretty Paleo-friendly if you avoid the chips and tortillas. Fajitas is a great option, just treat it like a "bowl" and don't eat the tortillas.

Sushi places are ubiquitous now and have plenty of healthy fare. And hey, unless you are allergic or restricted, a little rice won't hurt.

Steakhouses are a treat, and you know the good ones are using quality beef.


Fast Food

Fast food and fast casual Mexican places, like Chipotle all have the "bowl" option, or you can order a salad- hold the massive fried shell, of course.

Subway now offers most sandwiches as a chopped salad.

I hear Panera has a little-known "paleo menu" if you ask.

If it is a wrap, ask for a spinach wrap, or have that burger without the bun. And a lot of fast food places now offer salads. Just keep an eye on what's in that dressing.


Portland Paleo

Finally, I thought it would be nice to share a few Paleo-cuisine hot spots in Portland that are worth a visit the next time your road trip takes you to the Rose City. (Roses are Paleo- and red.)


Cultured Caveman I recently learned that the Cultured Caveman was the first Paleo food cart on the west coast-nice!  Now they have a restaurant in the Kenton area of North Portland. Their menu is varied, and it's all good- like grass-fed all meat chili, poke salad, carnitas tacos, and shepherd's pie.


Jurassic Cart is a Paleo food cart in Southeast Portland. Try the dinosaur egg, a "grilled avocado filled with cauliflower sticky rice and topped with mango and cilantro. They have bone broth, "Awesome Bacon" and steak and chicken right off the grill. Everything is made from scratch, local, organic, and checks every healthy eating box you can imagine.


Teote has gotten a lot of press and made a lot of "best of" lists lately. Teote is a Latin American experience on 12th, featuring gluten-free arepas (flatbread sandwiches) and an excellent patio. Their arepas and bowls are affordably priced at $6.75 to $9.00 and very good.


Fireside is on 23rd in the fun and hip NW district and features small plates and wonderful local, organic proteins. With a great location, outdoor seating and so many delicious bites, Fireside is a nice choice for a leisurely meal after exploring the area.


Well, now I'm even more fired up and ready to whip up my own fruit snacks and granola, pack the family truckster, and get out to the Oregon Coast, head to the woods for a weekend of camping, or shoot up to Portland for sights and street food.

It's time for a road trip people!

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