The Keto diet is fairly simple… high fat, moderate protein, low carb. Whole foods as much as possible, staying away from highly processed foods (sugars, starches etc.). While it takes some adjustment at first, putting time and attention to the foods that you buy and prepare and you’ll find a groove… a routine of foods and recipes that you enjoy preparing and eating that fit the ketogenic lifestyle…. But…. what happens when you ‘re on the road…traveling for work, in and out of hotels, client dinners, grabbing food on the road, in between meetings… How do you….
Keto on the GO!
First and foremost, maintaining a keto lifestyle at home or on the road requires a little bit of preparation and some tools to help you navigate the high carb pitfalls of dining in restaurants. Let’s break this down to the traditional (3) meals…what to do for breakfast, lunch & dinner, plus snacks and other strategies….
Let’s start with a strategy. Traveling can be stressful, making flights, security lines, baggage claim, hotels, Car rentals, hours of dashboard time all while trying to keep appointments meet clients, make presentations… you get the picture. One strategy that I like to employ is to remove one of the “to do” items from the list altogether and sprinkle in some intermittent fasting.
Now hold on a second….this is a post for eating Keto on the GO and the first thing you say is Don’t Eat?
Follow me here….have you ever been so busy that you look up at you watch and realize that you skipped breakfast or lunch and not realize that so much time had passed? Sure we all have… one of the strategies that I routinely employ when on the road is to intermittently fast. I’m on the run anyway, taking that 30 – 40 minutes set aside for wolfing down fast food that doesn’t serve my nutritional goals and putting that time to better use is an excellent strategy. In fact at times I will have One Meal A Day (also known as OMAD) while on the road. A typical day “OMAD” day would start the day with a large coffee (black with sweetener…what can I say I like coffee). Work thru lunch….drinking water throughout the day, sprinkling in another coffee in the afternoon based on how I feel…then in the evening I’ll look to have a hearty Keto friendly dinner. Typically, a lean steak or piece of fish with vegetables and a side salad…you’ll be surprised how good that meal will be when you’ve fasted all day. The other surprising thing is that a regular meal is satiating…. what I mean by that is that I’m not doubly or triply (is that even a word?) hungry because I’ve skipped breakfast & lunch…. don’t get me wrong, by the end of the day I’m certainly hungry, but a regular meal is satisfying and satiating
This is the easiest meal to stay Keto friendly almost anywhere in the US that I’ve traveled. Most hotel chains offer some sort of breakfast, I’m a Hilton fan…all of their brands of hotels offer some breakfast. My absolute favorite are the Hilton Garden Inn’s…geared for the business traveler, as an honors’ member a made to order breakfast is included. Eggs…any way you want them, cheese, bacon (who doesn’t like bacon?), breakfast sausage, ham….all breakfast staples and Keto friendly as long as you remember to omit the home fries, toast and juices that are also breakfast staples and lurking nearby. I have not traveled for business outside the US…so I can’t speak to that…however in the US, you can find a Keto friendly breakfast anywhere.
Up in the early morning at BWI airport in Baltimore…. a favorite spot for breakfast is the Silver Diner a throwback diner to the 50s with neon and jukeboxes…it’s kind of a cool spot…they serve breakfast all day, my Go to at BWI is the….
Cage-free scrambled Amish eggs, onions, nitrate free bacon, sausage, potatoes, scallions, jack cheddar, with whole wheat toast.
Of course, you need to omit the potatoes and the whole wheat toast… I told you they would be lurking nearby
Keep in mind that I have not accounted for cooking oil…and in most places you can assume that restaurants are using vegetable oils….you can ask for eggs to be cooked in butter or olive oil in some places, but we’re traveling and trying to stay Keto friendly without getting too granular
If ever there is a meal that you can skip when traveling, it’s certainly lunch. Business hours can go by quickly and it’s easy to get caught up in meetings, travel etc. that you definitely want to think about skipping this meal. Keeping Keto friendly snacks like nuts or beef jerky or that afternoon coffee (I said… I Like Coffee!) will help you get over the hump.
However, if you’re meeting for lunch or you just can’t bridge the gap from breakfast to dinner there are plenty of options. Caesar Salad with grilled chicken or steak works well. Bunless burgers with bacon, cheese, mushrooms, pickle, onions are all Keto friendly options.
Stopped in at Reilly’s Daughter for a late lunch while waiting on a connecting flight at Chicago Midway Airport
Went with a dozen Chicken wings naked (Well done… I like them well done). It came with Celery and ranch dressing…plus I asked for Buffalo Sauce on the side….that allows me to manage the amount of sauce… I hate wings that are slathered in any sauce… I prefer them crispy.
The database searched didn’t have an entry from Reilly’s Daughter…so chose to go with data from another franchise that specializes in wings and the data that they post should be accurate… that’s a high calorie lunch and a bunch of sodium… it happens… not every day, but it happens
So typically this is the BIG meal of the day on the road, because the day is done, there’s time to sit and enjoy a meal or entertaining clients for dinner. There are a number of pitfalls that you need to avoid in order stay the course and not ruin an otherwise perfect day (nutritionally at least).
Watch out for appetizers, sauces & glazes…. Sitting down for dinner with a client after you’ve fasted for the day or skipped lunch and you’re hungry… your guest orders Nachos, Potato skins or some other shareable finger food and he’s looks up at you and says… “Hey, c’mon, dig in, I can’t finish these myself”. The proverbial kiss of death to staying true to the Keto diet and you need to be prepared by ordering your low carb appetizer or show off your resolve, by telling your guest that you’re saving yourself for the entree.
Went to dinner with a colleague at the Saltgrass Steakhouse in Omaha, Nebraska. After traveling all day and spending hours of dashboard time driving from Kansas City we were famished and wanted to get a good dinner in before heading to our hotel.
This was the BIG meal of the day for me…on this particular day we had skipped lunch, opting to power thru the day (stopping only for a coffee) and have a hearty dinner. My buddy ordered the chips and queso sauce and of course invited me to try them… I stayed strong and really enjoyed the shrimp cocktail, followed by the side Caesar salad minus the croutons. Since, I was pretty hungry at the time I chose the 8 oz Sirloin accompanied by a side order of Brussels Sprouts. At nearly 1,200 calories and 20 carbs for the meal, I packed almost all the carbs budgeted for the day in this one meal…and I’m OK with that. Most of the carbs from this meal came from cruciferous or leafy green vegetables, the balance came from the cocktail sauce that I had the option to use sparingly… I didn’t…and I’ll live with that because it was sooooo good!
Last thing…. this was a business dinner with a colleague after a long hard day of client meetings and hours of dashboard time in preparation to get into town for our next client meeting the next morning…
My buddy immediately ordered a tall craft beer…. red lights & sirens for the Keto Bandeeto. Not wanting to be that stick in the mud and because I too was looking to unwind after a long day… I ordered a Tito’s on the rocks with a twist of lime. Completely within the boundaries of the Keto diet, great tasting Vodka and socially acceptable when dining with friends & colleagues. One note….like with anything moderation is key, I opted for a second drink and at zero carbs for the shot it’s obviously Keto Friendly, but tread carefully… too many drinks can lower resolve and next thing you know you’re justifying the triple chocolate layer cake….(no I did not succumb…but it was lurking nearby!)