Author: Dan Scalco
Bio: Dan is the blogger behind Food Box HQ, a website and YouTube channel dedicated to covering the food box industry. He’s on a mission to try every meal delivery service in the nation!
As someone who likes to follow the keto diet when I need to drop a few extra pounds, I know firsthand how challenging it can be to stay in ketosis while traveling.
It can be difficult to find keto-friendly options when you're away from home, and it's all too easy to give in to the temptation of unhealthy, high-carb foods. But fear not! With a little bit of planning and preparation, it's entirely possible to stick to your keto diet while on the road.
That's why I'm excited to share 5 simple tips I’ve learned over the years for staying in keto while traveling. From planning ahead to making smart choices when eating out, these tips have helped me stay on track with my keto diet even when I'm away from home.
So whether you're planning a relaxing vacation or a busy work trip, these tips will help you stay on track with your keto diet while on the go.
1. Plan Ahead
One of the first things I do when traveling to a new area is look up restaurants and check out their menus online. This helps me identify keto-friendly options and plan my meals in advance.
When looking for keto-friendly options at restaurants, it's essential to not only check out the menu online but also to pay attention to the nutritional values. Many restaurants now provide nutritional information and ingredient lists on their websites, which can help you identify the best keto-friendly options.
However, it's important to note that not all restaurants provide this information, and even if they do, it may not be accurate or up-to-date. In these cases, don't be afraid to call the restaurant to confirm the macros in a particular meal or ask for modifications to make it keto-friendly.
Being proactive and asking questions can help you make informed decisions about what to eat and ensure that you stay in ketosis while dining out. Don't be shy about asking for modifications, such as extra low-carb vegetables instead of rice or potatoes, or for dressing to be on the side. I’ve found that most restaurants are willing to accommodate dietary restrictions.
Another important aspect of planning ahead is researching keto-friendly grocery stores in the area. I look for stores that carry a variety of fresh produce, meats, and healthy fats like nuts and seeds. This makes it easier to cook my own meals or pack snacks for my travels. I also like to check to see if the grocery store offers any pre-packaged keto-friendly foods, such as low-carb snack bars or beef jerky.
2. Pack Snacks
When traveling, it's essential to have keto-friendly snacks on hand to help you stay on track with your diet. Packing snacks not only saves you money but also ensures that you have healthy options available when hunger strikes.
Here are some of easy keto-friendly snacks for traveling:
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are a great source of healthy fats and protein and make for a perfect on-the-go snack. Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, and pumpkin seeds are all great options. Just be sure to check the serving size, as some nuts can be high in carbs.
- Cheese: Cheese is a delicious and convenient snack that is high in protein and healthy fats. Cheese sticks or cubes, sliced cheese, or cheese crisps are all great options. You can also pair cheese with some low-carb veggies like cucumbers or celery for a tasty snack.
- Beef Jerky: Beef jerky is a portable and high-protein snack that is perfect for traveling. Just be sure to check the label and avoid brands that contain added sugar or high amounts of carbs.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs: Hard-boiled eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats and are easy to pack and eat on the go. You can also make egg salad by mashing the eggs with some mayo or avocado for a quick and delicious snack.
Wonder Monday Cheesecakes: Wonder Monday cheesecakes are a delicious and convenient snack that is perfect for satisfying any sugar cravings on the go while staying in ketosis. Just throw it in a cooler and you’re good to go! The best part is they come in a variety of flavors, are low-carb, and they’re made with high-quality ingredients. You can’t go wrong with the Classic Cheesecake but chocolate lovers will adore Double Chocolate.
3. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy body and mind while on the go. Whether you're traveling for work or pleasure, it's important to bring a refillable water bottle and drink plenty of water throughout the day. This is especially important when following a keto diet, as dehydration can lead to fatigue, headaches, and cravings for unhealthy foods.
I once made the mistake of not bringing a refillable water bottle with me on a long road trip and ended up feeling dehydrated and fatigued for the entire time. However, the worst of it was being dehydrated exacerbated my carb cravings and made me even more irritable. Since then, I make it a point to always have a water bottle on hand when I'm traveling.
Drinking water with meals is another habit that I've developed over time to help me stay hydrated while traveling. Not only does it help with digestion, but it also helps me feel full and reduces my cravings for unhealthy snacks. When I'm not in the mood for plain water, I like to add a splash of lemon or lime juice for a refreshing flavor.
Setting reminders to drink water throughout the day is also something that has helped me stay on track with my hydration goals. I use an app on my phone called Waterllama that tracks my water intake and reminds me to drink water at regular intervals. This has been especially helpful during busy travel days when I might forget to drink water in the midst of all the activity.
Finally, I always make it a point to avoid “low carb” drinks like soda, juice, and energy drinks when traveling. Instead, I stick to water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee when I need a beverage other than water.
4. Practice Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a popular practice among those who follow a keto diet. It involves limiting your food intake to a specific window of time each day, typically between 8-10 hours, and fasting for the remaining hours. This can help you stay in ketosis, even if you eat something outside of your diet, because it can help balance out any carbs you consume.
One way to incorporate intermittent fasting into your travel routine is to plan your meals around your fasting window. For example, if you typically fast from 8pm-12pm, you can plan to have your first meal of the day around noon when you arrive at your destination. This can help you avoid the temptation to snack on unhealthy foods during your travel time and keep you on track with your keto diet.
Another way to practice intermittent fasting while traveling is to listen to your body's hunger cues. Sometimes, I eat simply out of habit or boredom, rather than true hunger. I’ve found that by tuning in to my body and eating only when I’m truly hungry, I can naturally practice intermittent fasting without even thinking about it.
Of course, it's important to consult with your doctor or a qualified healthcare professional before starting intermittent fasting, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
5. Be Prepared For Emergencies
Whether it's a last-minute flight change or a delayed train, unexpected events can throw your meal plans off track, leaving you without access to keto-friendly food.
I’m familiar with unexpected travel issues all too well… I once had a rental car breakdown mid-journey force me to eat a bun-less burger from Wendy’s for dinner.
To prepare for these unexpected situations, I always research keto-friendly places I can stop along the way to my destination. This ensures that I have a list of places to choose from when hunger strikes, and I don't have to scramble to find suitable options.
However, there can be situations where you don’t have a lot of restaurant choices along the way and you’ve run out of keto-friendly travel snacks to eat. In cases like these, I rely on a pre-made meal delivery service like Factor Meals, which has keto-friendly breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. These meals are already portioned out, so I don't have to worry about counting carbs or measuring portions. Packing a couple of these meals gives me peace of mind on the road and ensures that I always have a keto-friendly meal available when I need it.
Traveling while following a keto diet can be challenging, but with a little bit of planning and preparation, it's possible to stay on track and maintain your healthy habits. By researching keto-friendly restaurants and grocery stores, packing snacks and meals, sticking to protein and vegetable-based dishes, staying hydrated, and being prepared for unexpected situations, you can ensure that your travels don't derail your progress.
Remember, keto is a lifestyle, and it's important to prioritize your health no matter where you are in the world. With these simple tips, you can stay in ketosis while on the road and continue to make progress towards your health and wellness goals.
So, whether you're traveling for work or pleasure, make sure to take the time to plan ahead and prepare for your journey. By doing so, you can enjoy your travels with the peace of mind that you're staying true to your keto diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.