Dr. Anthony Gustin is a board-certified sports chiropractor, functional medicine practitioner, entrepreneur, podcast host, and founder of Perfect Keto.
Sticking to a keto diet is hard enough when you have a full kitchen and can cook from your keto meal plan at home. But sticking to a high-fat, low-carb diet is a different story when you’re on traveling for work or pleasure.
Keto while traveling may seem like a huge challenge — but it doesn’t have to be. Read on for the best keto foods for the road and low-carb snacks you can find almost anywhere.
Whether you’re on the ketogenic diet for weight loss or better energy — there’s no reason to compromise ketosis just because you’re on the road.
Keto on Vacation Tips
Staying keto while traveling is 100% possible.
That said, you might have to compromise on a few things, from the quality of your food and fats, to how much you eat out while you’re on vacation.
Like everything in life, balance is a must and your first priority when you’re on vacation is to enjoy yourself.
And when you can, stick to these tips to keep your blood sugar under control so you can continue feeling good and shedding pounds — even while you’re snacking or sipping drinks poolside.
Keto Vaca Tip #1: Prepare/Bring Keto Snacks
Depending on where you’re vacationing, it might be possible to find keto-friendly snacks. Some fancier places will cater to special diets, even if you have to call ahead.
No matter where you’re going, it never hurts to plan ahead and prep some food for your trip. Here’s how:
Bring Snacks You Can Store
Whether you’re traveling by plane, car, or train, non-perishable snacks are best for longer trips.
Parmesan cheese crisps, low-carb crackers, veggie sticks, nut butter packets, nuts, and jerky are perfect for long flights and road trips. Beware of the plane peanuts; they’re usually coated in sugar and hydrogenated oils—yikes! Much safer to just bring your keto-friendly nuts.
And if you’re traveling by car and have a cooler, then you can take your keto snack game to the next level.
Prep Meals and Snacks Ahead of Time
Cook a breakfast or some snack options that you can put in Tupperware and store in your bag.
Here are some ideas of snacks you could bring along with you:
- Chicken salad
- Tuna salad
- String cheese
- Homemade fat bombs
- Butter for your keto coffee
- Meats like beef jerky or salami
- MCT oil powder for stirring into water or coffee
See our keto snack list for more ideas.
If you happen to forget something, thankfully you can find a lot of this stuff at the airport. However, you’ll be paying a premium for them and they likely won’t be as clean as if you just bought/prepared them yourself.
Keto Vaca Tip #2: Call Ahead to Restaurants/Resorts
Before you leave, look online for the types of eating places you’ll have around wherever you’re staying or spending each day. This might seem like a lot of work beforehand, but it will actually help you feel better about your options and reduce stress during your vacation.
Here are some options:
Restaurants: Most nice restaurants will offer nutritional information for their menus online. You can even make a reservation before you arrive to make sure you have a good experience. To be extra sure, call ahead and let them know about what you don’t eat. Most places will be happy to accommodate you and make sure you get a good keto meal.
Some menu options you might have:
- Grilled chicken or steak salad, hold any relish, tortilla chips, croutons, or dressings (if you must use dressing, make sure it’s a low sugar option). Remove or eat around carrots. Top with salt and pepper and avocado. You might pack your own keto-friendly dressing beforehand, as most restaurant dressings will be high in sugar and carbs.
- Beef burger or chicken sandwich without the bread, with mayo, cheese, onions, mustard. Add a side salad.
- Beef or chicken fajitas without the tortillas, topped with avocado and cheese.
- Pot roast with grilled keto vegetables and a side salad.
- See if you can replace any sides of rice or fries with stir fried or grilled veggies.
- Avoid fried things (they’re likely breaded) and go for grilled meats instead.
Hotel breakfasts. Although they usually have waffles, cereal, and oatmeal, most hotels also include bacon, sausage, and eggs as options. Plus, most hotel meals are free!
Resort meals: If you’re staying at a resort or vacation destination, you can even let them know ahead of time about your needs so they can point you in the right direction. Most places like this are becoming more open to specific dietary needs. Speak with resort staff and ask if they can provide recommendations for eating places in the area, too.
Buffets: The right places can a keto holy grail, especially good salad bars where you can fill up on leafy greens with meats, eggs, nuts, and oil for dressing. Seafood buffets with butter galore can be good options too.
Diners and cafes: These can be great for keto breakfast options. Look for breakfast platters with eggs, bacon or ham, cheese, butter, and keto veggies like peppers or onions. Or order an omelet with meat and cheese. If you do coffee, order some black.
Coffee shops: While most coffee shop food won’t work, you can always get hot or iced coffee black or blended with some heavy cream or your MCT oil powder.
Keto Vaca Tip #3: Research Online
Besides just researching menus of specific eating places, try doing a search for “keto” and the city you’re visiting. Apps like TripAdvisor and Yelp can sometimes be helpful in searching by keyword.
Also, look out for trendy food trucks in the area. Sometimes, you’ll find some real gems that cater specifically to the low-carb/Paleo/keto crowd.
Keto Vaca Tip #4: Shop for the Hotel
Most hotels these days include at least a small refrigerator, and some even include a full kitchen and stove. This is great because it allows you to shop locally for some fresh food options. Search online for nearby farmer’s markets or grocery stores and see if you can pick up some local meats or fresh veggies to have in your room. This is more likely to be an option in the warmer months.
You might also look on Airbnb for homes in the area you can rent out. That will ensure you have a full kitchen to store your food—AND it’s a lot of fun for everyone!
Why Staying Keto on Vacation is Great
Sure, it takes a little more legwork initially, but staying keto while traveling can be an amazing experience. With enough planning, you can stay low-carb, feel full at each meal, and avoid the gross, bloated feeling and weight gain that everyone else deals with post-vacation. Above all, don’t stress too much and make sure you have a great time!