You’ve been on a primal diet for a few weeks now; you’re feeling good about yourself, cooking all your meals at home using only the freshest whole food ingredients. Your family is happy, you’ve got more energy, you’re sleeping better, and you’re starting to feel this is something you can find yourself committing to long-term. Until you decide to go out for a meal and you realise primal friendly restaurants are hard to come by.

Cooking your own meals and knowing your ingredients is one thing, but eating out on Paleo, primal or keto – well, that’s another story. Sticking to a Paleo diet in these situations can feel overwhelming and at times, borderline impossible. Here are a few tips that’ll keep you on track with your newly found Paleo lifestyle when dining out.

First and foremost, consider why you chose this way of eating in the first place and be mindful of your choices. Avoid all grains, refined sugars and vegetable oils. Keep this in the back of your mind and eating out will become a lot easier. On the plus side, you’ll find that most restaurants carry a variety of Paleo-friendly dishes, but hold on before you place that order.

More often than not you might think something on the menu is Paleo friendly but likely there’s a sneaky ingredient that isn’t aligned with your health goals. In all cases, it’s best to ask your waiter if there’s anything hidden such as sugar, soy or vegetable oils before you order your meal.

Make a habit of ordering your salad with dressing on the side, or ask the waiter to bring you some extra virgin olive oil and vinegar. If you’re used to having fries or rice with your steak, swap your usual side for grilled veggies. Do not feel shy to ask that the chef uses either olive oil or butter for cooking them.

Eggs and omelettes are always a good choice; just keep in mind that most restaurants tend to use unhealthy oils such as canola or peanut oil so ask for your eggs to be cooked in butter or bacon grease. The key here is to make sure you’re not chasing the perfect paleo meal; your aim is to minimise the impact the food will have on your body, and most importantly to make sure you savour every last bite.

Nevertheless, sometimes, no matter how hard you try you’ll find there really isn’t a paleo option for you to choose from. In these rare situations, either pick the most paleo friendly meal or have whatever you want, it’s totally up to you. Once you’ve got your body fat adapted and your overall food intake in check the occasional slip up really isn’t the end of the world.

We know making the switch to a Paleo lifestyle takes a lot of time and effort; from planning and grocery shopping to meal prep and cooking, eating healthy isn’t easy at first. But we believe that the hardest part is getting started. And once you get some momentum going the rest becomes second nature! Eating out is the easy part. What you’re doing at home – day in, day out – that’s the hard part, so give yourself a pat on the back and make sure to enjoy every bite.

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Featured image: Flickr Creative Commons Lou Stejskal