Sticking To A Keto Or Low-Carb Diet While On Holiday
Planning & Prepping To Reduce The Need To Use Will Power To Stay On Course
You’ve found a diet that suits you, you’ve stuck to it so far but the coming holiday fills you not only great anticipation but dread at the same time, as to how it will affect your regime. Most blogs you have been reading on this subject will give you a list of tips on how to easily stick to your diet while away. The truth is, there are things you can do for that, but it’ll take some effort before going away and a bit of will power to follow through while you are away.
Food temptations and social pressures (if travelling with company) will be the biggest lures to falling off the wagon. The key to success is research, planning and prepping. This will help keep the need for “will-power” minimal, while you are away.
First things first, expectations need to be managed. Let’s face it; it is going to be more difficult for Keto dieters, much stricter with carbs than low-carbers. It will be nigh impossible to stay in ketosis 100% of the time as just one cheat meal have high consequences and will take too long (dependent on duration of your trip) to get back on track. If you do not have the will of steel and/or willingness to sacrifice any minute of fun on your travels, it might be more realistic to go for very low-carb (near keto) instead. This will, in the first instance, NOT set you up for a tailspin “binge” at the first negative happenstance.
It might be a good thing to keep in mind that you are NOT trying to lose weight while on holiday, so loosen up a bit. The idea is trying to not put on too much holiday weight that you will need to get rid of when you get home.
Tips & Tricks
With that in mind, here are a few tips to help you stick to your diet without too much concession and compromise during your holidays.
For those who are not used to such detailed planning, this will seem a lot of effort. We ask that you give it a try, with a promise that the process will improve and get easier as you do it more frequently, even for your everyday lives. As for the lean team, natural and advanced planners, this will be fun if not automated.
Research, Planning & Prepping For Success
Choose self-catering or apartments over hotels, where there are kitchen(ette)s to enable food preparation. If hotel rooms are inevitable, choose one with a mini-fridge at least.
Investigate, consider and test trial intermittent fasting to reduce the number of meals required when you are away
Make a long list of keto friendly & low-carbs items, preferably with nutritional data, to have at hand for food shopping & restaurant ordering
Research grocery stores (chains) in and around your accommodation to see which have the best offerings in variety e.g. cooked meat & cheese counters, and costs. If you have your own preferred food staples, make sure they are on offer or look up substitutes.
Research local cuisines and dishes you would like to try and lookup (estimate) their nutritional data and put them into the Yes, Avoid & Plan B categories.
If staying in a hotel, choose one with breakfast buffets where there are usually an abundance of meats, cheeses and greens you can load up on to last until the evening meal or put some snacks aside to takeaway.
Investigate the most appropriate and viable restaurants and their menus in and around the areas you will be visiting. Book and pencil them into the day’s schedule (by mealtime - breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack) where possible. Book more than one if required as you can just cancel on the same day (24hrs for some fine dining options).
When scheduling activities for the day, make the quest of staying keto/low-carb part of the travelling fun e.g. prep your own food for picnics and alfresco dining while sight seeing, hunt for a particular restaurant/food stall in an off the beaten track area, visit a local market in a nearby village, stay-in for BBQ nights etc.
Prepare relevant podcasts and keto/low-carb recipes for listening to and browsing while away. They will be a reminder and help motivate you and keep you more on track.
Sacrifice one or two pieces of garment for space and bring a lot of easy to pack, non-refrigerated and dried snacks. Do the cost-benefit analysis on investment into a cheap food vacuum sealer (approx. £20 and above) for extending food duration and keep. They are worth using even when not travelling.
Bring or buy at place ice-cube bags to make ice for refrigeration of picnic foods
During the Trip
Grocery shop at destination immediately after touch down, to get staples. This also gives you a more accurate view of what the shops have to offer plus the time required to amend or do more food/meal planning & prepping for the whole duration.
Use the pre-prepped food list to make good choices when food shopping and eating out.
Have low-carb alcohol at hand for the occasion and stick to hard liquor (bourbon, rum, gin) & sugar-free (cola, tonic) mixes over wines and cocktails.
Use coffee to stave of hunger
If trying intermittent fasting, do not get upset if you break fast. If required, try to hold out for an hour or two extra before the next meal to “reign in self-disappointment” and raise the spirits back up.
Put on your podcasts and/or browse keto/low carb recipes while getting ready for the day or night out. This will keep the subject close in mind and help motivate you to make better choices.