Sticking to a ketogenic diet can be easy when you can cook low-carb, high-fat meals at the comfort of your own kitchen.
But when it comes to traveling, sticking with your ketosis efforts can be challenging if you aren't prepared. It's like they say, "if you fail to plan, you plan to fail". And, the ketogenic diet is no exception.
Luckily, knowing this is half the battle.
By following the tips and strategies laid out below, traveling while staying keto can be a walk in the park (or drive on the road)!
Tips for staying keto while traveling
Preparation is key when it comes to sticking to a low-carb, high-fat diet. Think back to the last time you traveled. Whether it's at a gas station or the hotel you stay in, most of the time the only foods available were processed carbs like chips, cookies, and soda.
When you can plan ahead, you'll never have to resort to junk food to hold you over. And when it comes to the ketogenic diet while traveling – being prepared is perhaps the most important factor towards sticking with your goals.
Here are a few tips to consider while traveling on keto:
Eat before leaving
If you have a long trip ahead of you, try to eat a large ketogenic meal right before you leave. This will give you a nice "buffer" and will help curb your appetite until you arrive somewhere that has a kitchen for you to cook in or low carb-meals available.
Try intermittent fasting
Fasting in between meals is a great way to not only boost your ketone levels, but it's also a great tool to hold you over during long trips.
Intermittent fasting makes traveling simpler. If you have a long road trip ahead of you, consider eating a large breakfast before you leave then you can skip lunch and have a late dinner once you've arrived. Or perhaps you have an early morning flight. If that's the case, you can skip breakfast and wait until you've landed to eat.
The nice thing about fasting is you can do it anywhere and it also supports ketone production. In fact, studies have shown that periods of fasting can help deplete glycogen stores from carbs to increase ketone levels[*].
Eat out smart
Restaurant dining in confidence is going to be a key part of success on the ketogenic diet while you're traveling. Here are a few quick tips to help you stay low-carb while eating out:
- Opt for double veggies instead of bread.
- Choose water or straight spirits instead of beer and wine.
- Prioritize protein like grilled chicken before choosing other options.
- Go for the steak as it's often your safest choice.
- Avoid fried foods as much as possible.
- Ask for "lettuce wraps" instead of buns to go with your burgers.
Bring snacks you can store
Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, bringing keto snacks with you is essential. This way, if you start experiencing hunger pangs, you'll have low-carb snacks readily available and won't have to resort to processed carbs.
Keto travel snacks available in stores
With the rise in popularity of the ketogenic lifestyle, there's no shortage of low-carb foods available at your local food store!
Here are a few of our favorite store-bought keto snacks for travel:
Stop by your local Trader Joe's and grab yourself a few bags of nuts. Stick to almonds, macadamia, walnuts, and brazil nuts as they have the lowest carb content.
Put them in a reusable snack bag or small container for easier access and to save space.
2. Pumpkin seeds
These pack a hefty nutritional punch and containing ample amounts of zinc, iron and vitamin K. Just a ¼ cup of pumpkin seeds contains 16g of healthy fats and only 2g of net carbs, making it a great keto travel snack!
As with most processed meats, some are healthier than others. Look for brands that are grass-fed and nitrate-free as they contain fewer fillers and unnecessary ingredients.
4. Nut butter
Fill up a small container of almond, cashew or peanut butter and a plastic knife to carry on the plane or in your car. To make things easier, you can also find nut butter packets from brands like Justin's at your local health food store.
Make sure to check the ingredients label before purchasing nut butter because some brands contain hidden sugars that could potentially knock you out of ketosis.
A great compliment to go with nut butter. Carrying a couple of bars of dark chocolate can give you the extra calories and energy boost you need to stay alert during a road trip.
Plus, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and helps your body manage oxidative stress.
6. Quest bars
If you're in a bind, most convenience stores have quest bars which are a great source of protein and only averages 7g of net carbs. But be mindful as several keto-ers report that they get knocked out of ketosis after eating a full bar.
7. Jerky sticks
Both our beef and turkey sticks are great options for keto travel snacks. Unlike others, all of our ingredients are farm-fresh and pasture-raised so you have peace of mind that what you're eating is 100% healthy for you and the environment.
8. Hemp seeds
A great source of protein, healthy fats as well as essential vitamins and minerals while low in carbs. It's also rich in GLA which is great for digestive health and may even help reduce sugar cravings.
If you want to add seeds to your next meal or dessert, opt for the unshelled version as they are less crunchy and easier for consumption.
9. Canned sardines
Don't knock it before you try it! Canned sardines contain the perfect macronutrient ratio for keto-ers and contain ample amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids are great for brain health and have also been shown to enhance your body's fat-burning abilities.
Bring a jar with you and eat them on their own or add pickles as a topping to your next keto meal.
Pickles provide healthy amounts of sodium and are low in carbohydrates which makes it a great keto travel snack to ensure you are getting enough electrolytes.
11. Cheese snacks
There are several keto brands that are coming out with snacks like "cheese crisps" that can satisfy your craving for something crunchy while you're traveling.
If you're interested, check out companies like Moon Cheese and bring a bag with you on your next trip!
12. Pork rinds
One of the most popular snacks in the ketogenic community, pork rinds are another great low-carb, high-fat snack you can take to go.
Similar to pepperoni sticks, be mindful of hidden ingredients that can add up to your daily carbohydrate count. The fewer ingredients, the better.
13. Swerve packets
Keep a few of these on hand, especially if you like adding a little bit of sugar to your coffee or tea. They can add some sweetness without the additional carbs from traditional sugar packets.
Contains a healthy dose of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to give your body the dose of micronutrients it needs to function optimally.
Olives are a great keto-friendly snack to help curb your appetite and hold you over until your next meal.
15. Cacao nibs
Also known as the keto version of chocolate chips, cacao nibs are a great snack to add into your own trail mix recipe or enjoy a few quick bites to satisfy your cravings for sweets!
16. Protein shakes
Bringing a few scoops of your favorite protein powder in a small container is a great keto travel life hack. Eating too little protein is extremely common when you’re out and about, so it’s a great idea to drink a quick shake during your trip.
Homemade keto travel snacks
Want to take it a step further and create your own keto travel snacks? We've got you covered!
The great thing about making your own snacks is, you know exactly what ingredients go into it. Now you won’t ever have to worry about hidden carbs that some "low carb" snacks contain from creeping up on you.
Here are some of our favorite keto travel snacks to make at home:
17. Cereal and granola
Mix up some low carb cereal and granola together and bake them with coconut oil so they're less likely to spoil. A great keto snack to provide your body with optimal amounts of healthy fats!
Looking for a crunchy treat to satisfy your salty cravings on the go? Make yourself some bacon in bulk and store it in a ziplock bag or container and bring them with you!
Bacon goes great with just about any meal and they taste great even if you don't have a microwave to reheat them!
19. Fat bombs
Simple, tasty and great for keto! To make fat bombs, add liquid coconut oil, nut butter, cocoa powder, and a low-carb sweetener into a bowl. Then distribute them evenly into a small muffin pan, put them in the freezer for 30 minutes or longer.
Once hardened, place them in separate ziplock bags and voila! You have yourself a low-carb, high-fat snack to replace traditional sweets like cookies.
20. Hard-boiled eggs
One of the most nutrient-dense snacks you can make with ease. Boil a dozen or so of eggs, peel them in advance, and store them in an airtight container for a great source of fats, vitamins, and minerals during your travels.
There's a reason they call it "nature's multivitamin"!
Preparation is key while traveling on keto
There's no denying the fact that staying on a low-carb ketogenic diet is much harder when you're traveling. But, staying prepared is a great way to ensure that you don't fall victim to eating carbs just for convenience.
By spending a little extra time to pack a few keto-friendly snacks, you should have no problem sticking with your goals no matter where your travel takes you!