There are lots of ways to vacation while on keto…only you can decide what will work best for you. You can even make a different decision each day depending on your plans for the day.
Vacation is about fun, it’s about the experiences, it’s about the adventures, and it’s about the people you are with. It’s not fun to miss out on stuff because of a “diet”, but it’s also not fun to make yourself sick because of the foods you eat. Moderation and some simple planning can make the whole thing easier.
Quick disclaimer about me: I do not get sick when I cheat, I get aches and pains, I bloat and might feel uncomfortable, but I never get all out sick like some people do. If you do, I suggest finding your triggers and limits and staying within the safety of what works for you.
A normal day for me on vacation is something like this:
- Breakfast – Mostly I skip breakfast, but if I’m hungry I eat eggs and meats, sometime a fit a veggie in there too, either in the eggs or as a side.
- Lunch – On days I skip breakfast, I go for an early lunch usually either fast food or diner foods…bunless burgers, tortillaless tacos, salads with grilled meat added….I try for the restaurants I can’t get at home. (Read as: In & Out, Sonic, 5 Guys) If I know dinner is going to be later due to events and activities I will eat breakfast or a snack and push lunch a little later.
- Dinner – This is where my real splurges usually come in. On a good day I will order meat or seafood with double vegetables and skip things like rice and potatoes…BUT, if it’s a nice restaurant that brings fresh warm bread…I will eat some. If it’s a real Mexican place that makes their own tortillas…I will eat them. A hole in the wall pizza place with the best pizza in town…I’m eating the crust. If they have one of my favorite desserts and hubby will share with me, we will happily share something yummy, if he wants something different, I will still order dessert IF it is something I really want, something special and try not to eat the whole thing. I do not eat dessert just for the sake of eating dessert though. I will also skip it if I know something better is going to come along, like a fresh hot churro from the cart down the street.
- I also keep snacks on me for those hangry moments, because when I eat carbs I get much hangrier (just ask my husband)
Snack Ideas – For travel
- Nuts and seeds – pre-portioned to control carbs and calories
- Cheese sticks or string cheese
- Meat sticks or jerky
- Protein bars
- Veggies and dip
- Whisps or Moon Cheese
- Pork rinds
I have not been on a cruise, but I have heard it is amazingly keto friendly, and they are also very accomodating.
I tend to walk a lot on vacation, we are always on the go, sight seeing and all kinds of adventures…this really helps keep the weight off too. I splurged for 2 weeks in California and gained 2 pounds…I splurged for 2 weeks at home and gained 6 pounds.
I have “rules” for my splurges/cheating
- It’s not mindless cheating just to cheat
- I try to save the splurges for the special foods or the special events
- I try to spread them out through my vacation, not 3 meals in one day
- I try to keep my basic meals keto…meat, seafood, veggies, and then have a little of the non-keto foods
- I don’t worry about the little things like sauces, I will eat something with BBQ sauce with no worries
- While I will eat those non-keto foods, I do try to not overeat them. Sharing is a great way to do this, share onion rings with your spouse, friend or child. A little fruit from a salad bar, a few bites of the creamy garlic mashed potatoes and push the rest to the side.
I personally don’t drink, nothing to do with keto, I just don’t like it, but if you do…the fancy umbrella drinks could be part of your splurge, or that local micro brew that is probably a little carbier than what you would normally drink. Also, if you are in ketosis when you drink, keep in mind you will not have the tolerance you normally would, and you will likely have one hell of a hangover the next day. Drinking can also stall your weight loss and possibly kick you out of ketosis (temporarily) because your liver can not process ketones and alcohol at the same time.
When it’s over-
If you are fat adapted when you go on vacation, and you don’t go super carb crazy… chances are, you will be back in ketosis in about 2 days. Once you are fat adapted, your body prefers fat to carbs, so it will switch back very easily. Keep your electrolytes up to make the transition easier and don’t worry about 3-5 pounds on the scale. Carbs hold water and you will retain for a few days after getting back on keto.
Links to more information-
Eating out – How to navigate restaurants
Hydration and Electrolytes – Why it’s important
Keto Camping – Not all vacations are in a hotel, and some ideas for make ahead foods you can take with you.
Simple Grab & Go – Snacks you can grab anywhere