Traveling can be a great way to relax and unwind, but it can also be a huge source of anxiety for those following a strict diet. From trying to find low-carb options at restaurants to noshing on the go, it can feel like a chore when you SHOULD be having fun. Don’t stress! With a little planning and preparation, it’s possible to stay on track even while you’re away. Here are seven ways to fuel your next vacay from a registered dietitian nutritionist.
1. PACK YOUR OWN SNACKS
To prevent the afternoon “hanger” strikes, make sure to pack plenty of snack options that pack a variety of macronutrients, such as:
- Keto-friendly cereals
- Keto-friendly bars
- Keto-friendly granola
- Keto-friendly yogurts
- Hard-boiled eggs
- String cheeses
This can be especially useful on a long flight or road trip, or when you're staying in a hotel without a kitchen. So, pack some easy-to-transport snacks, mix & match your favorites, and make sure you bring snacks that work with your mode of travel (i.e., think shelf-stable for the air and refrigerated snacks in a cooler for the road).
2. PLAN YOUR MEALS IN ADVANCE
Do some research on local restaurants and grocery stores that offer options that suit your lifestyle and make a plan for where and when you'll eat. This can help you stay on track and avoid making impulsive choices that may seem good at the moment but really won’t satisfy or satiate you for the long haul. You can also check out the menus of the restaurants you'll be visiting in advance to see what options are available.
3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR MODIFICATIONS
Most restaurants are more than happy to accommodate special requests, so don't be shy about asking for modifications! Consider a few of these simple swaps next time you’re ordering out:
- Opting for a lettuce wrap instead of a burger bun
- Swap a bread basket for appetizer of mixed nuts, burrata or fried Brussel sprouts
- Substitute fries for a salad, extra veggies or avocado
- Swap a carb-based soup like potato for a bowl of chili
And, if the entrees aren’t cutting it, try pairing two or three appetizers together to achieve a delicious meal that fits your lifestyle
4. STAY HYDRATED
Let’s face it, when following a particular diet plan, “hangry” moments can happen from time to time. But it’s important to know what can cause those and what can help them. Besides under-eating, dehydration is another major cause for hunger. So, make sure to drink plenty of water throughout your day.
Pack a large water bottle in your luggage, make sure to fill it up before your adventures and when you start to feel hungry before a meal, try drinking some water first. Oftentimes dehydration can mask hunger and refueling your tank, so to speak, can also give you a much-needed boost, especially when you're on the move.
5. STAY ACTIVE
Don't let your travel schedule get in the way of your health and wellness goals. Try to find ways where you can incorporate physical activity into your itinerary. Whether it's going for a walk, seeking out a cool hiking trail, finding a nearby fitness class or going for a swim if a pool, lake or ocean is accessible. This can help you feel more energized and refreshed throughout your trip.
6. BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCIES
Vacations can be unpredictable. And when you’re going with the flow, it’s easy to lose sight of your goals. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have some backup options with you in case you can't find a snack or meal that suits your lifestyle. Make sure to always carry an emergency pack of nuts or keto-friendly bar with you. This will help you feel fueled and focused when you're in a pinch.
7. DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP
It's OK to enjoy all foods in moderation, especially when you're traveling and experiencing new cultures. Don't let one slip-up derail your entire trip. Just get back on track at your next meal. Remember, you're on vacation to have fun, not to stress out about your diet. Don't be too hard on yourself if your intakes look different than they would at home. Focus on how you feel and consider balancing out meals and snacks to ensure you are eating a variety of foods throughout your trip. It’s OK to be mindful of your diet, but don’t forget to have some fun. You’ve earned it!
Looking for more ways to snack on the go? Get our guide here!
*Always consult your physician before starting an eating plan that involves regular consumption of high-fat foods.