By Ryan Callery
#1 Open your windows. Just because your seats are leather doesn’t mean they… well, nevermind. This isn’t really #1 but yeah, if you’re eating a few keto staples in your car, do your future self and everyone a favor, and crack ‘em.
Alright let’s get serious.
Staying keto while traveling is no walk in the grass-fed park, but we’re here for you. We’ve been there, we’ve done that, and we lived to tell these tales. These tips are a mix of personal experience and professional guidance. Kinda like those fat bombs we made one time that turned out more like…, well, “flat bombs”. As always, when you fail, just keep swimming (or learning, but Dory is timeless, even if Ellen is on thin ice) Without further ado, here are 5 tips for following a ketogenic diet when you find yourself on-the-go:
- Keep it simple, sexy. Though they may not always have the “perfect” macros or “cleanest” ingredients, finding simple, pre-made packaged snacks that can stay in your car, purse or bag for a bit is a feasible & fruitful approach to actually staying on track. Sure, you could make a 12-pack of fat bombs, homemade keto blueberry muffins and a carafe of Bulletproof coffee before you venture out but, odds are, you won’t always have time, and nobody likes sweaty glove box muffins (if you do, please seek help, lovingly of course). The key here isn’t “ideal” ingredients necessarily, so give yourself some grace. The key is avoiding bad ingredients where you can, while balancing your focus on convenient snacks that’ll keep you in ketosis until you’re back in the lab (that’s your kitchen, if we’re still overexplaining). We suggest items like meat sticks, organic string cheese, jerky, pork-rinds and your favorite keto bar. Here are a few of those items we dig:
- Chomps Grass-Fed Meat Sticks (0g carbs)
- Horizon Organic Mozzarella String Cheese (2g carbs)
- 4505 Chicharrones (Pork Rinds for we gringos) (0g carbs)
- Perfect Keto Bars (3g net carbs) or Dang Bar (5g net carbs) if you’re vegan
Side note: If you’re new to keto and don’t yet know what these “fat bombs” I’ve mentioned a few times are, check out these recipes, which were also linked above before #1 on our list. They’re basically a combo of healthy fats, something to bind ingredients (like coconut or almond flour), various flavorings & sugar free sweeteners. You can get really creative with the ingredients, from sweet to savory & in-between, but they do take a little time to prep & cook.
- Get crafty with your coffee. I don’t know about y’all, but homemade coffee with personalized keto-fixin’s is one of my favorite parts of the keto experience. I’m also a dude who did 40+ legs in the air last year (2020 did an Irish good-bye on this convo long ago, so that’s what we’re left with.. And I’m Irish, so I can say that haha), and learned quickly that many airport coffee shops don’t have low-carb creamers/milks, and Starbucks is way too generous, with their heavy-whipping-cream. So what’s a traveler to do? Way I see it, you have three options here -
- Confuse some people, earn some looks, stay proud, and ask for “light heavy cream” in your Starbucks; and no sweetener of course.
- Pack some of these bad boys from the Bulletproof brand. (3g net carbs)
- Go black. Do what you want when you get back.
- Find at least one truly feel-good, feel-full, portable option. Numbers one & two above will get you by in a pinch or in-between meetings, and won’t stank up your backpack (too much) if you eat them that day, but you deserve to keep at least one keto-friendly item on hand that tastes like home and is packed with goodness. My favorite is, by far, the Power Veggie Bite from Appleton’s Market. It’s got locally-sourced, farm-fresh ingredients, and tastefully checks the box on at least one or two servings of fiber, veggies & protein, all while keeping you keto. My boo is the Thai Sriracha, but you truly can’t go wrong with Sun Dried Tomato Basil or Mexican Enchilada either. At only 100 calories & 6g net carbs, I turn to these babies when I want something clean, quick and filling for breakfast before a flight, light lunch on the run, or an afternoon snack. One can only eat so many bags of almonds, meats on sticks, and bunless Wendy’s Baconators after all. What? I’m allowed to get dirty-keto once in a while too, come at me bro ;) Anyway, check Appleton’s Market Power Veggie bites out for taste & convenience without compromise.
- Speaking of dirty, let’s not dance around the fact that sometimes a fast food joint may be the only thing you can fit in your schedule. It happens. Embrace it, infrequently, but do it the right way. In short:
- Ditch the bun, hun. Also, we know, “duh”.
- Enjoy the cheese, worry about the cow’s diet later, imho. (We can’t always be perfect, we’re not Reese Witherspoon)
- No ketchup. Fast food ketchup is basically tomato-dyed sugar.
- Look at the mayo label. Sometimes you’ll be unpleasantly surprised.
- Mustard is usually fine.
- Most fast-food places won’t eye-murder you if you ask for your sandwich wrapped in lettuce anymore. I did it in Arkansas, and I’m still breathing, so.
- Only sociopaths can stop at one fry, so just lock it up!
- You’re made of stardust, but also water. So drink a half G of it now, and thank us later. But seriously. Drink more water. Then drink..more water. Many airports now have filtered water filling stations, so pick up one of these bad biches if you’re on a budget, or one of these if you fancy huh, and fill ‘er up, buttercup. It’s inevitable that you’ll encounter moments while traveling where you simply can’t sit down for a meal or even wait in line at the closest burger spot. When it happens, you’ll be glad to have plenty of water on hand, and to have already drank your fair share throughout the day. I can’t count how many times I skated by with water & almonds, until I could find a break and sit somewhere later in the day. So try to prepare for that inevitability, and give the ocean a break by doing it with a reusable bottle. We’re (mostly) not heathens, after all.
Is that all? Haha, surely you jest. Nope, definitely not. This list could always be longer but, like our tips, we supply it for those on the go, with little time to spare. We hope you learned something today, outside of the fact that we have a slight pun addiction. We’re with you, you’ve got this, and sometimes you have to improvise, so don’t beat yourself up if you have to venture outside of your comfort or clean zone for a quick trip or two. If you’ve got the drive (you took the time to read this, so you likely do), you’ll easily get back on a more strict track once you return to home base. However, if time or options are in short supply, you could do a lot worse than these 5 keto on-the-go tips.
We’ll leave you with one final bonus piece of advice. Put simply, be a realist about what will be available on your journey and how much time you’ll have to prep, eat & snack. We’d all love to have low-carb, organic, regeneratively farmed, hand-massaged, Julliard-trained egg souffles and parmesan crusted chicken that keeps in a Ziploc bag handy, but keeping it 100, as the kids say (hopefully still), is going to yield better results and prevent any “oh eff it” moments when travel gets in the way.
Alright, fare thee well, new keto friends. Let us know how you do, and what you’d like to read about next!