Paleo Eating in the Great Outdoors

paleo eatingIt’s that time of year when the kids are out for summer break, vacations are being planned, everyone is spending more time enjoying the outdoors, and our lives have taken on a different pace.  Along with the beautiful weather comes more time spent outside of your familiar kitchen and more time eating outdoors in a variety of settings.

We thought it would be helpful to share our Paleo eating suggestions with you for keeping your meals and snacks in check no matter where you might venture during this season. The key to successfully maintaining a Paleo lifestyle is in planning ahead and being prepared for the unexpected. The following strategies have worked for us and our family for years.


Who doesn’t love a picnic in the great outdoors, relaxing with family and friends streamside or in a beautiful park setting? If it’s just you and the kids, it’s fairly simple to load up the cooler with Paleo foods to enjoy during your outing.  Start with lots of fresh, locally grown seasonal fruits and veggies.  Pack up a roasted, organic chicken, sliced beef, or broiled salmon, all prepared ahead of time and served chilled. Add a summer salad from to pair with your meat or fish and you’ve got a complete Paleo meal to share with your loved ones.


If you’re hosting a BBQ in your own backyard, you can easily plan and prepare a meal that is pure Paleo.  For hamburgers, be sure to provide the option of lettuce wraps as an alternative to unhealthy white bread buns.  Check out the tasty condiment section in our Paleo Diet books for great alternatives to the bottled and processed foods found in typical grocery stores. Whatever you choose to serve, making it Paleo during the fresh fruit and veggie season should be a breeze.

It’s when you are invited to a cookout that things can become a little bit challenging. Arriving at Aunt Bettie’s BBQ and being faced with hot dogs, potato salad dripping in mayonnaise, chips and dips, pies, ice cream, and an array of other unhealthy food choices, can be a bit daunting. The best strategy we’ve found is to offer to bring the salad, fruit plate, or other main dish item that will provide you and the guests with something healthy and desirable to eat and hopefully, help you to avoid offending the host.

Our family travels to our hometown every summer. Years ago we showed up with a very large plate colorfully decorated with fresh pineapple, berries, kiwi, melon slices, peaches, and other seasonal fruits.  The family and friends marveled at this beautiful array of delicious eats as we walked in the door. What struck us was watching the young children fill their plates again and again until all of the fruit was gone.  This was the start of a new tradition and we are asked time and again to bring the fruit plate to the summer gatherings. We feel that we are contributing to the development of  healthy eating habits for our young relatives and are delighted to maintain the tradition.


One of our favorite summer activities is a beautiful hike in the High Rockies or the Sierra Nevada mountains.  When setting out for a day of hiking, it is important to take along lots of water and enough nourishment to keep you going.  Many fresh fruits and veggies pack well and can be eaten along the way. Homemade trail mix made with dried berries, walnuts, almonds, or other Paleo ingredients of your choice can help to sustain you throughout your day.  Of course, our favorite staple is The Paleo Diet Bar which provides us with the right combination of fruits and nuts, is easy to pack, and keeps us energized.

Whatever your activity this summer, get out, get going, and make it Paleo!

Lorrie Cordain, M.Ed., Co-Author of The Paleo Diet Cookbook