Ask a Health Coach: Primal Starter Pack and Snacks for Long Hauls

Hey folks, Board-Certified Health Coach, and Primal Health Coach Institute’s Coaching & Curriculum Director, Erin Power is here to answer your questions about getting started with Primal and eating on the go. Whether you’re new to Primal or scouting new snacks, we’ve got options! Have a question you’d like to ask our health coaches? Leave it below in the comments or over in the Mark’s Daily Apple Facebook group

Mel asked:
“I want to go Primal but get overwhelmed by the rules. What’s in my Primal Starter Pack?”

Photo of woman's eyes and forehead, looking up and question marks drawn in air with yellow chalkWelcome, Mel! You’re in the right place! If you haven’t checked out our Primal Beginner’s Guide, start here. It covers the 10 Primal Blueprint Laws plus Primal Eating 101.

When we say “laws,” we’re talking about parameters that just make sense: eating, moving, sleeping, and living in ways that are natural and help us thrive. That, more than strict “rules,” is the Primal foundation.

Once you’ve given the Beginner’s Guide a read, head to a grocery store or local farmer’s market to stock up on staples. So long as you’re choosing real, whole food, the options abound. Here are the basics to get you started:

Meat, poultry, and seafood: Working within your budget and availability, prioritize quality over quantity. Products from pasture-raised animals are ideal, along with sustainable seafood options. Organ meats, while much less expensive than prime cuts, are among the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. With all those nutrients, a little goes a long way.

Eggs: Here, too, look for the highest quality that makes sense for you. Even the priciest, pasture-raised eggs are a steal, considering how much protein and other nutrients are packed in a carton. That said, even conventional eggs count as whole food and are a decent option.

Veggies and fruits: When possible, choose local and seasonal. Farmer’s markets are a stellar source. When shopping in stores, look for organic, play with a variety, and pick the produce that looks and feels freshest.

Healthy fats: Getting high-quality, healthy fats is an essential part of eating Primal and an essential ingredient in body-mind health. Steer clear of highly refined seed and vegetable oils (e.g., canola, corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower), opting instead for avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, and animal fats. Fats from foods such as avocados, coconut products, fish, and meat count too. Same goes for nuts, seeds, and full-fat dairy, which brings us to…

Moderation foods: If you tolerate them well, nuts, seeds, and full-fat dairy fall within Primal parameters. Generally, though, you’ll want to consume these in moderation—all the more so if you notice they cause unwanted symptoms. Same goes for Primal-approved, very dark chocolate.

Condiments: These days, there are many ready-made paleo, Primal, and Keto options! Just make sure to read your labels and question all claims. Of course, Primal Kitchen® is a trusty starting point and one-stop shop for mayo, sauces, salad dressings, and — my favorite — ketchup.

As a Primal Health Coach, I encourage you to keep it simple: Choose real, whole food as much as possible, and don’t stress about perfection.

That said, I also advise making a list before hitting the store. It helps to keep your shopping trip intentional and productive. Having your Primal parameters on paper is an easy way to counter overwhelm when surrounded by overly processed (non-Primal) food and marketing.

Another thing to keep in mind: While food’s important, it’s not all about food. Primal living includes moving your body, getting outside, connecting with loved ones, being curious, and having fun!

When it comes to what’s on our plate or how we’re spending our days, choose what makes you feel good in the moment… and the day after.


Dawid asked:
“How about health snacks for long-haul truck drivers? Any ideas?”

Road sign for curves aheadSo many ideas! You’re not alone in asking this question. Whether traveling for work, traveling for leisure, or sticking close to home, healthy snacks can easily be on the menu.

Of course, there is a whole train of thought around whether or not we actually need to snack… For many, eating nutrient-dense, Primal meals cuts the need to snack altogether. That said, it’s far better to prep healthy snacks than to reach for sub-par options amidst changing routines and limited access to staples.

When it comes to staying healthy and making things easier, a little planning offers big support. For those, like Dawid, who are on the road for the long haul, here are a few portable, healthy snack options:

Canned fish: This is a fantastic, non-perishable source of healthy protein. Just make sure to choose varieties packed in water, not oil. Think: tuna, salmon, mackerel, and sardines.

Hard-boiled eggs: This requires a bit more prep. Make a big batch at home and and bring them along. Seem boring? Pack avocados and sea salt to go with. (You’ll want to pack these perishable whole foods in a cooler if you’re going more than a day or two.)

Nuts and olives: Hurray for finger foods and healthy fats! Nuts can be an excellent way to stay curb snack attacks and achieve some between-meal satiety. Nut and olive combos deliver good fat plus antioxidants, fiber, iron, and copper.

Veggies, alone or with supportive dips: Pick veggies that are hardy and stand up well to travel. Alternatively, grab fresh veggies on the road, but bring nut butter or avocado oil-based dips and dressings for dipping.

Low-carb protein bars: Choose carefully here, as not all protein bars are healthy or Primal approved. Look for ones with minimal ingredients featuring meat or nuts and seeds.

Dehydrated goodies: I know dried fruits, veggies, and meats might not sound the most appealing, but trust: High-quality dehydrated snacks are tasty staples with an ancestral track record. Choose ready-made options or try making your own. If you’re buying store bought, maybe from a gas station along the interstate in a pinch, try to steer clear of extra sugars, inflammatory oils, and other non-Primal additives. It’s actually not terribly hard to find relatively clean options at even the dingiest of service stations in even the most remote parts of the country.

When making pit stops on the road, remember the Primal basics and choose real, whole food whenever you can. Staying 100 percent Primal at all times isn’t necessarily the goal. Make it a challenge, choose the best possible choice, and you’ll feel better during your long travels on the road and—even better—once you get back home.

These suggestions are just that: suggestions. Every person is different and your healthiest snacks and optimal eating plan will vary, depending on individual factors, goals, and lifestyle.

For support in that, consider working with a health coach! It’s more accessible than you might think, and we can help you get clear on what diet and lifestyle practices are best for you. Visit to check it out and get started!

Have travel plans this Summer? Or plans for a staycation? Drop your go-to snack options or other questions for me in the comments!


About the Author

Erin Power

Erin Power is an NBHWC board-certified health coach and the Coaching and Curriculum Director for Primal Health Coach Institute. She’s also the co-host of Health Coach Radio, the podcast by health coaches, for health coaches. Erin lives outside of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, on a hobby farm in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

If you have a passion for health and wellness and a desire to help people like Erin does, consider becoming a certified health coach yourself. Learn the 3 simple steps to building a successful health coaching business in 6 months or less in this special info session hosted by Primal Health Coach Institute co-founder Mark Sisson.

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