Your luggage is packed, and your tickets are in hand. It’s time to embark on your vacation. While typically, you’re excited to go, this time around, you feel nervous.
Although vacations are a time of carefree relaxation, you want to try to follow your keto diet as best you can. How do you eat keto on the go?
This article will be your guide to not only surviving a vacation while in full keto diet mode but enjoying yourself as well. There’s lots of great information to come, so make sure you keep reading!
A Keto Vacation Guide – The Top 10 Tips for NOT Destroying Your Weight Loss Progress
Grocery Shop for Supplies When You Get There
Even if you’re driving to your vacation destination instead of flying, you don’t want a trunk full of groceries getting funky on your way to your location. That’s why you should wait until you arrive to do some shopping.
Yes, you might feel a bit jetlagged or fatigued from driving upon arrival, so you might want to cozy up in your hotel bed and shop tomorrow. If you can wait to eat until the morning, then sure, relax away!
However, if the temptation to order room service is just too strong, then force yourself up and out to the store to stock up on supplies. Once you begin eating keto foods and test your ketone levels, you’ll be glad you didn’t deviate from your diet.
Research Restaurants Before Your Trip
Of course, you’re not going to have homemade meals each time you eat. The whole point of vacation is to ditch your responsibilities for a while, and one of those responsibilities is cooking.
Restaurant food tends to include huge portions, high carb loads, and lots and lots of calories. That said, it doesn’t have to be that way. More establishments are focusing on healthy, organic eating, and these are the kinds of restaurants you’d like to dine in if you can.
Don’t wait to scope out restaurants when you reach your vacation destination. You’re still learning the area, and trying to find a restaurant you only know the name of can be frustrating.
Instead, as you prepare to leave home for your trip, take some time to sit down and do an online search of the restaurants near your hotel or Airbnb. Which do you think are the keto-friendliest? Don’t just jot down the name but write down their address and phone number too.
If you’d like, you can call the restaurant and quiz them on their menu, but this isn’t necessary unless a.) the menu isn’t online or b.) you saw something on the menu and you have more questions, like how many carbs the restaurant’s Caesar salad has.
Even if a restaurant is a little off the beaten trail, if the offerings there are keto-friendly, then you should prioritize eating there.
We also have a guide on on our blog on how to eat keto at almost any restaurant. You should check it out to avoid common mistakes when choosing eating out.
Ask for Accommodations When Dining Out
When vacationing with others, they will have their preferences for dinner and you yours. Maybe your family or friends agreed to dine at the restaurant you wanted to go to last night, but tonight, it’s their pick.
Don’t dread the experience! We’d suggest looking up the menu online so you can plan what to order. If all the items on the menu would put you way over your carb macros for the day, then talk to the waitstaff when you get there.
Today, with the wide range of allergies and intolerances that people have, restaurants are more accommodating than ever. If you ask for zucchini noodles rather than real pasta, the staff might be able to help you out.
Always Have Snacks on You
According to Neuroscience News, when the University of Dundee studied the effects of hunger on people’s decision-making, the lead researchers found that, indeed, your appetite can skew your judgment.
This can be bad news when it comes to your vacation. After all, we all know that vacation itineraries can get off-track, even the best-planned ones. If you haven’t eaten for five hours and you’ve been on your feet in the hot sun the whole time, you’re going to be so hungry you can eat a horse.
Maybe even literally.
Before you know it, you’re sinking your teeth into carbs, oh so many carbs, and ultimately wrecking your keto progress.
That’s why we recommend you never leave your hotel or Airbnb without snacks on your person. Choose nonperishable items that can handle hot temperatures, so your snack doesn’t melt in your back pocket.
Even if you don’t eat it, the snack is like a safety net. You know that should hunger strike and you can’t ignore it anymore, you don’t have to. Once you have some food in your stomach, you’ll find that you can much more easily refrain from carb-heavy temptations.
Fast If You Can
On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, you can always eat less on your vacation.
You won’t have to worry about your carb macros and calories when you don’t eat. Since you’re not supplying your body with glucose, you’ll remain in ketosis and continue burning fat so you can lose weight and trim your body.
You have plenty of intermittent fasting types to select from. Maybe you fast for 16 hours of the day, or you can even go 24 hours without food. Then, for another 24 hours, you’d eat as usual. You can also limit your calories to just 500 or 600 for two days of the week.
The time you spend sleeping does count towards your intermittent fasting time. Plus, it’s so much easier not to think of food when you’re playing on a crystal clear beach, climbing the world’s most famous mountains, or seeing astonishing monuments.
That said, if your hunger leaves you so distracted that it’s taking away from your vacation, then you don’t have to fast. That’s also the case if you feel weak or sick.
As we’ve written extensively on the blog, it’s safe for most people to combine intermittent fasting with keto.
That said, before you intermittent fast, you should always see your doctor and ask if it’s a good idea. Some health conditions can preclude intermittent fasting, especially when combining it with keto.
Ask Your Friends or Family to Eat Keto with You
You know the old saying that there’s strength in numbers, right? It’s true! When you’re the only one on the keto diet, and especially in the relaxing context of a vacation, it’s effortless to let it slide and eat a few too many carbs.
Of course, you know that doing so will bump you right out of ketosis. You’ll then have to work hard to reach that fat-burning state again.
Ask a friend or family member who you’re vacationing with if they’ll try keto with you. Even if they eat a keto breakfast or dessert rather than every meal, that will go a long way towards making you feel less alone. You’ll find it easier to stick to your diet.
Make Meal Prep a Vacation Activity
Vacations are all about having fun, whereas meal prep is admittedly not. That said, making keto-friendly meals doesn’t have to be boring. Gather your vacation buddies or family members and do cooking or baking as a bonding activity.
For instance, maybe you and a friend whip up a fantastic keto dessert, or you wake up early with another member of your family and make keto pancakes. The others you’re vacationing with will appreciate having had the chance to make something fun and yummy with you.
Plus, once they realize how delicious keto food is, they might be more willing to eat that way for the rest of the vacation (and possibly beyond).
Learn the Low-Carb Alcohols
For the adults out there, you’ll probably sample the nightlife on your trip or at least drink with your friends or family in your hotel or Airbnb.
As we’ve written about on the blog, beverages can sometimes contain as many carbs as some foods, if not more so. The average can of beer has 13 grams of carbs. If you have three beers, that’s nearly 40 grams of carbs. For many keto dieters, that’s about your entire carb load for the day.
Fortunately, lots of beer brands have jumped on the low-carb beer bandwagon, so at any bar, restaurant, or liquor store, you should be able to pick up a beer without overloading on carbs.
If you’re not a beer drinker, then you’re in luck. Many other types of alcohol contain fewer carbs. White wine and red wine both have about two grams of carbs to a glass, as do sparkling wine and champagne.
Do you prefer spirits and cocktails?
Whiskey, dry martinis, brandy, tequila shots, and vodka, and soda water all contain no carbs. Here’s the carb load per serving for other popular cocktails:
- Margarita – 8 grams of carbs
- Bloody Mary – 7 grams of carbs
- Cosmopolitan – 13 grams of carbs
- Gin and tonic – 14 grams of carbs
- White Russian – 14 grams of carbs
- Vodka and orange juice – 18 grams of carbs
- Rum and coke – 22 grams of carbs
Here's an entire guide covering everything you need to know about alcoholic drinks on keto.
Use an App to Track Your Macros
It’s easy enough to manage your carbs in your day-to-day life, but when you spend the day at a beach or an amusement park, the time to log your macros is sparse. Now is a perfect time to download an app that will make tracking your carbs easy.
There is no shortage of keto apps out there whether you’re interested in free apps or you don’t mind paying for a service that logs your macros and other keto statistics. You might have to take yourself away from the action for a few minutes to put in your macros for the day, but please don’t wait too long to do it.
After all, between the excitement of your vacation itinerary, the pace of your day, and the fatigue that will naturally follow from all that fun, you can easily forget whether you consumed 22 or 32 grams of carbs already today.
Yes, knowing whether it’s 22 grams of carbs or 32 grams of carbs does make a difference, as you could assume you have more carbs in your allowance than you do. If you consume too many carbs, then ketosis will stop.
Try Dirty Keto
We’ve talked about a lot of rules throughout this article during a time when you’re supposed to be letting loose. There might come moments when you want to eat something, even if it does contain more carbs than you usually allow. You’re on vacation so that you can relax the rules from time to time.
Perhaps for a few days of your vacation, you have some cheat days. On a cheat day, you don’t track carb macros.
If you’re concerned that a cheat day or two could cause you to gain weight, then you can always give dirty keto a try. We wrote about dirty keto on the blog a while back, so here’s a recap.
On the dirty keto diet, you still don’t eat more than maybe 50 grams of carbs a day, but you’re allowed to indulge in unhealthier foods such as a cheeseburger without the bun.
The benefits are that you get to eat more of the foods you want (but know you shouldn’t have) while still not overdoing it on the carbs.
That said, dirty keto isn’t a sustainable long-term diet if you want to lose weight. For a few days, though, here and there, you should be okay.
If the thought of going away on vacation while following the keto diet has caused you turmoil, worry not. It takes some prep time and pre-planning, but you can successfully take a trip nearly anywhere and still stick within your carb macros.
Best of luck, and have fun on your vacation!