Whether you are doing the keto diet to lose weight or prevent seizures, it can be challenging to stick to a low carb diet when you hit the road. Restaurants don’t always offer low carb options and friends and family tend to serve up carbohydrate rich foods. Recently, I took a road trip to Ohio to visit my sister and nephews. I tackled the challenge of staying keto for the entire three days.
1. Start with a Satisfying Breakfast
Before you leave, load up on the bacon and eggs that you love at your house. It will keep you satiated during the long road stretches when your car companions are turning to cheetos. (Yes, my family members love cheetos on road trips.)
The extra bacon fat will give you plenty of energy to sit in your seat.
2. Bring a Dozen Boiled Eggs
When the munchies do strike, you will have a low carb snack on hand. I found that eggs were fairly easy to shell and sprinkle with a touch of salt. Even though they are kind of bland, they did fill me up. I loved having them on hand. It meant that I didn’t need to wait until our next McDonald’s stop for a hamburger patty.
3. Pack Some Sardines
Eggs are great, but at some point you may want a complete protein. Sardines are a convenient way to eat nose to tail on the go. I found sardines great for snacking and supplementing the hotel’s breakfast. Even though the hotel served us bacon and eggs, it was nice to have a little extra protein on hand. (Not to mention, I’m an early-bird and tend to be hungry before hotels even serve breakfast.)
I did bring some tuna creation pouch from Starkist. It was terrible! I don’t recommend. Do not buy flavored tuna in a pouch.
4. The Buffet Strategy
While we were in the tiny town of Marysville, OH, my family decided we had to go out to eat. They selected a Chinese buffet. Yikes! Almost all Chinese food is fried or soaked in some sugary sauce. So, my strategy was to stick with the meats and veggies. There were some that didn’t appear to be too heavily soaked in sauce. I selected some boiled fish and hit up the salad bar.
I avoided the fried egg rolls and won tons. I walked past the fried rice and noodle dishes. There were some kebabs that were simply chicken that made it to my plate. Even though it was an All You Can Eat Buffet, I just ate until I was full. I didn’t try to eat an extraordinary amount considering most of the food had hidden carbohydrates.
5. Surviving Family Dinner
Luckily, my sister is a diabetic and has been counting her carbohydrates off and on for years. She knew that I was trying desperately to stick with a keto diet and was willing to accomodate. She set aside some beanless chili for me and her bean-hating child.
The second night, she whipped up a new pulled pork recipe, so I wouldn’t have to eat the sugar-laden pulled pork sauce. I also ate the salad she made for a side dish. I did pass up on the pie for dessert, but the kids figured it was just more for them. No one seemed to notice or care.
6. McDonald’s Lunch
Ok, so I did have to eat out at McDonald’s twice on our road trip. What did I choose? I ordered up the McDouble with only the patties and cheese. While I know McDonald’s has fake cheese, it did make the patties a bit tastier. It may not be optimal, but it definitely was tastier than a plain patty.
7. String Cheese
Oh, I love string cheese. It isn’t the lowest carbohydrate cheese, but it is so much fun. It isn’t something I buy on a typical basis, so for me, it was my big treat. String cheese with an egg was a really filling and fun snack!
During this road trip, I could have packed a ton of other low carb treats, but I discovered that I didn’t really need them. The eggs, cheese, and sardines were enough after a hefty breakfast. McDonald’s hamburger patties filled me up during lunch. The trip was only 8 hours, so we were only on the road for one meal.
These tips can be applied to longer distance trips. You could also pack celery and cream cheese if you want something crunchy to snack on. I will mention that the hotel shut down breakfast on the second day due to the Coronavirus, so it was handy to have the boiled eggs, cheese and sardines. I grabbed one of their yogurts on my way out as well. (It was Greek yogurt and a small container, so it fit into my macros for the day.)