No matter what dietary approach you take, it can be tough to stick to your goals when you’re going out to dinner or enjoying vacation with family and friends—especially if you’re the only one trying to eat healthy.
Even well-intentioned friends can sometimes undermine your keto goals while on vacation, saying things like “It’s just one meal,” or “Just have one dessert or drink with us,” and sometimes even becoming offended if you’re making choices that are different from theirs.
Always remember that any negative reaction to your dietary choices is usually reflective of a personal issue on their end: your adherence to a healthy diet may call into question their own choices, making them feel badly. That’s not your problem.
You don’t, however, have to make “a big deal” out of eating differently or sticking to a keto diet when you’re out with other people or on vacation. Anyone who’s eaten a giant salad with plenty of avocado, or eggs and bacon for breakfast, has eaten keto, perhaps without even knowing it.
By paying attention to menu details or doing a little research ahead of your vacation, you can make healthier, lower-carb, and keto-friendly choices without feeling restrictive or awkward while you’re trying to have a good time.
Here are some of our favorite Keto on Vacation tips, but feel free to leave us some in the comments!
- Most restaurant meals come with a starch (potatoes, rice, fries, bread, fruit, and the list goes on) but usually, you can swap this out for a keto-friendly double portion of salad or mixed vegetables
- Just say no to the free bread!
- Just say yes to extra avocado or guacamole ☺
- Aim for fattier types and cuts of high-quality protein (think steak, salmon, and chicken thighs) and fill up on non-starchy green vegetables for volume and texture. Most restaurants don't have keto recipes ready to go but that doesn't mean you can't be eating keto there.
- Where possible, swap veggie noodles and cauliflower rice for the more carb-heavy traditional versions of these foods. Instant keto recipes!
- For breakfast, restaurants and hotels usually have some good low-carb keto-friendly options including eggs, cheeses, meats and local vegetables including olives. How you choose to start your day is usually a good indicator of how the rest of your day will progress, so be disciplined with your breakfast!
- When in doubt, get the biggest salad you can find (minus the croutons) for your ketogenic diet. Be liberal with avocado, nuts, healthy oil-based dressings, and even cheese if you tolerate dairy.
- Inquire about the oils used in cooking and finishing your meals – ideally you want to use coconut oil, butter or lard for cooking and extra virgin olive oil, macadamia or avocado oil on your food (and we have been known to bring in our own small bottles of olive oil for salads to restaurants!)
- If you do plan to eat a bit more carbs during a night out, pay attention to what you’re eating the rest of day – mentally meal plan so that you consume low-carb meals and recipes as much as possible (especially with your net carbs), choosing instead to fill up with healthy fats and protein, and maybe get in a quick intense workout or a nice long walk (can be easy or difficult depending on the type of vacation) before or after your meal, as that can lower blood sugar levels and help you make good use of those carbs! Also, remember to drink lots of water! Avoid drinking water immedietly before or after meals as it can affect your digestion.
- Bonus tip: Don’t worry about it too much. If you’re trying to stick to the keto diet and a health or body composition goal, simply passing on the cocktails, bread, and dessert puts you a huge step ahead. But if you want to enjoy a meal out and the cooking oil isn’t ideal, or you eat a few fries with your steak, it’s not the end of the world. Especially when traveling. Stressing out over every ingredient in every meal can negatively affect your health more than a few extra carbs will over the course of a few days. Understanding that your health, diet and weight loss goals are about consistency over time and not perfection will go a long way towards establishing a sustainable and enjoyable diet that works for you.
- Bonus tip #2: If you know you'll be craving something sweet while on vacation, consider bringing along a few keto snacks such as our delicious chocolate chunk cookie dough keto bars or our peanut butter chocolate chunk bars. Each bar contain only 1 gram net carbs and our customers say they're so good that non-keto friends and kids alike often try to snag one from them and eat keto without knowing it.