March 8, 2018

Traveling on a Ketogenic Diet

Traveling on Ketogenic Diet

Have you been killing it with your ketogenic diet? Are you worried that an upcoming trip will derail your progress?

Traveling while on a ketogenic diet can be tricky, but it's definitely not impossible. Keep reading to learn what you can do to avoid temptations and stay on track with your diet while still enjoying your next vacation. 


One of the best things you can do to ensure that you successfully stick to your keto diet while traveling is plan ahead.

In addition to staying on track with your weight loss, you will also save money and time if you prepare meals and snacks to bring with you on your trip. Some simple, travel-friendly snacks for keto include:

  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Cheese
  • Jerky
  • Celery
  • Ham, turkey, or other deli meats
  • Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao)

Having a variety of snacks on hand will make you less likely to head to the drive through or fill up on junk. However, make sure that you take the time to portion out your food as well so that you don't overeat out of boredom.

Measuring out your food and storing portions in separate bags or containers will make it easy for you to get the right servings of your favorite snacks.

Something else you can do to prepare for and make sure you stay on track during your trip is to eat well before you leave the house. If you take time to fill up with a satisfying, keto-friendly breakfast before you hit the road, you will be better able to resist the urge to start snacking immediately.

You may even want to go the extra mile and prepare your healthy, keto-friendly breakfast the night before you head out. Take some time before bed to peel some hard-boiled eggs, cook some bacon or eggs, or slice up an avocado. If you spend a few minutes at night getting your meal ready, you won't be able to use being in a rush as an excuse to skip breakfast and fall off the wagon a few hours later when you're starving. 

Gas Stations and Travel Centers

Maybe you totally failed to pack snacks before leaving, and now you're hungry and in need of some quick fuel. That's no excuse to not stick to your diet.

If you do have to stop at a gas station or travel center for a meal or snacks during your trip, you can still stay on track without too much difficulty.

Contrary to popular belief, many of these places actually have lots of great snacks for keto, you just have to know what to look for.

Most, if not all, of the snacks listed in the above section can also be found at gas stations and travel centers, including:

  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Carrot and celery sticks
  • Cheese
  • Deli Meats
  • Hard Boiled Eggs
  • Protein Bars
  • Jerky

All of these items can be combined to make the perfect meal for someone on a ketogenic diet and can easily be found at most gas stations. Just make sure you read the labels before heading to the cash register!

Many pre-packaged bags of nuts and seeds have added sugar, so don't just assume they're a good option without checking the back of the bag first. Protein bars also can have a lot of added sugar, so be sure to go for low-carb choices like Quest bars. 

Dining Out at a Restaurant on Keto

While bringing food with you is great for staying on track with your keto diet, you shouldn't completely avoid restaurants while traveling. Not only is this not realistic, but you're also likely to feel deprived, which can lead to you completely overdoing it later.

Don't miss out on great food and great interactions with your friends or family! It's totally possible to stick to keto at a restaurant! Instead of staying in your hotel room during meals, try some of these tips to make sure you stay on track with your diet while dining out. 

Look up the menu ahead of time:

If you know which restaurant you'll be heading to, try to look up the menu online. Many popular restaurants have their menu posted on their website, along with the calorie and macronutrient counts for their dishes. If you take the time to study up beforehand, you'll know what you're getting into and can pre-plan your meal for more efficient and diet-friendly ordering.

Make substitutions for starchy sides:

Most restaurants will have no problem with you swapping out fries or mashed potatoes for vegetables or a side salad. If the restaurant doesn't allow substitutions like this, or if it doesn't have any keto-friendly sides, simply ask for your starchy sides to be eliminated altogether, or give them to a friend instead.

Add healthy fats:

You can make your meal more satisfying by adding healthy fats in lieu of high-carb sides. Ask for extra butter for your meat or vegetables, or get some olive oil to add to your salad. Your food will be more flavorful and your diet will be on point.

Be aware of what you're drinking:

Ideally, you should stick to water or coffee while dining out on your trip -- and just in general. However, if you really want to indulge, you still have options that won't wreck your diet. Champagne, dry wines, and light beers are all good, low carb beverages, as are most liquors. If you don't drink alcohol but still want something besides water, stick to diet soda or other sugar-free drinks.

Don't overdo it with dessert:

Dessert is tricky for people on a keto diet since most options are filled with carbs and sugar. Sometimes, a cup of coffee or tea can be perfectly satisfying after a meal. If you just can't skip dessert altogether, though, try to find a keto-friendly option like a cheese plate.

Fast Food Keto Alternatives

Fast food is practically unavoidable while traveling, no matter how prepared you are. It's convenient, it's tasty, and it's, well, fast. You don't have to sacrifice your diet goals when you eat at these popular places, though.

To avoid sabotaging your diet with fast food, try some of these simple switches: 

Ditch burger buns, bread, tortillas, and wraps:

Take the burger off the bun or meat and cheese off the bread and just enjoy those plain.

Skip the sauce:

Lots of sauces and condiments are high in sugar and carbs, so, unless you know exactly what's in it, it's better to just go without.

Be smart with your salads:

Make your salad more keto-friendly by ordering it without croutons or tortilla strips. You should also be careful with dressings. Read the labels if they're available, and opt for low sugar choices like caesar, blue cheese, ranch, or chipotle. Another good rule of thumb is to remember that anything with "honey" in the name will be heavy sugar.

Avoid breaded items:

Obviously, anything that is breaded (chicken strips, mozzarella sticks, etc.) is going to be high in carbs and will offset your progress. Stick to grilled options -- especially when it comes to chicken -- instead.

Keep it simple: One of the best things you can do at fast food restaurants is stick to foods that you recognize. The menu items at many fast food joints have hidden ingredients that can mess with your diet, so do your best to find foods that are primarily made with just meat, cheese, and/or vegetables. 

Traveling on Ketogenic Diet

Keto Coffee

Probably the greatest keto-friendly thing you can have with you while traveling is coffee.

Not only will the caffeine in coffee help power you through long days, but it can also take the edge off your hunger. Furthermore, keto coffee will support your diet, give you even more energy, and help you continue to burn fat throughout the day, even while you're on vacation.

What is keto coffee? It is simply coffee that has a healthy fat source mixed in with it. Some healthy fats that you can blend in with your coffee include grass fed butter, coconut oil, and concentrated MCT (multi-chain triglyceride) oil.

Ideally, the coffee plus the oil or butter will be enough. However, if you do need a little more flavor in your coffee, try adding some cinnamon or a bit of sugar-free syrup instead of regular cream and sugar, both of which contain high amounts of carbs. 

Key Takeaway

The main piece of information to take away from all of this is that you can still stick to -- and see results from -- your keto diet while traveling. It might be a little more difficult to stay on track, and you will most likely need to set aside some additional time to prepare, but the extra effort will absolutely be worth it when you reach your weight loss goals!