Staying keto on the go can be a challenge.
But we’ve been traveling full time for over 5 years and counting and have stayed keto the whole time. People ask us all the time how we do it.
Following a ketogenic diet while traveling may seem challenging, especially when exploring countries renowned for their flavorful-yet-carb filled cuisines.
However, with a little research and planning, it’s possible to find ketogenic-friendly meals, snacks, and even fast food options in various corners of the world.
In this article, we’ll delve into the importance of seeking out keto-friendly options while traveling in countries like Thailand, Mexico, Jamaica, Vietnam, and more. We’ll also explore the significance of discovering travel-friendly ketogenic snacks and fast food alternatives that keep you on track with your ketogenic lifestyle while on the go.
Background on Our Eating Keto
When we decided to become digital nomads one of the first things we resolved to do was lose weight so we could travel more comfortably.
To achieve this, we eventually adopted the ketogenic – or keto – way of eating.
We eliminated sugar from our diet and tried to keep our consumption of bad carbs under 20 grams per day (we came to refer to this as our ‘wine allotment’).
We made sure we got plenty of good fats at every meal: MCT or coconut oil in our morning tea (bulletproof tea!), avocado and/or olive oil at lunch and dinner.
We are NOT strict ketogenic people – we don’t pee on ketostix to see if we are in ketosis.
We don’t obsess about 20 gross carbs vs. 20 net carbs per day (in other words: we eat vegetables…a LOT). In fact, Lisa often says we are closer to the South Beach Diet than ketogenic.
But I like saying we eat a keto diet because I think South Beach Diet is a stupid name for a way of eating.
And saying ‘Low Carb and Sugar, High Good Fat and vegetables diet,’ while most accurate, is too much of a mouthful.
Keto Works for Us – We Stay Skinny AND Sane!
Anyway, whatever you want to call it, our keto diet worked!
We eat ketogenic food – mostly meats, fish, eggs, veggies, cheese, and keto snacks. And we eat as much as we want until we are full. No counting calories. No skipping meals.
This means no deprivation and so our relationships with food are healthier than they have ever been. Yes, in the end it mostly comes down to eating fewer calories. But that’s because keto food fills you faster with fewer calories – and burns low and slow so you don’t get hungry again so soon.
Do we miss some sugary and carby foods? Sure! But we DO NOT miss being fat. Nor feeling crazy about our relationships with food and dieting.
We each lost about 25 pounds before we launched as digital nomads and felt healthier than ever. And we’ve kept that weight off ever since.
General Advice about Keto on the Go
The hardest thing about staying keto on the go is that you lose control of the preparation of food.
And in many places in the world, especially in the USA, that means you end up with secret sugar in your restaurant-prepared food.
Especially in sauces. Just assume they are dumping loads of sugar in it – so avoid them. But some restaurants put sugar in just about everything – including hamburgers!
That’s why we prepared this guide to eating keto in restaurants around the world.
Further, thanks to Airbnb and VRBO, whenever we can, we rent accommodations that allow us to set up a Keto Kitchen on the go!
Our general advice is this: eat plain. Simple grilled meats. Steak. Grilled chicken.
Our favorite lunch on the go is a donner kebab plate with just the chicken and vegetables. No bread and no chips/french fries, of course!
Staying Keto Around the World
We tend to live in places for a month or two at a time. And we NEVER let our keto way of eating stand in the way of a destination we want to experience.
You may think that living in countries renowned for noodles, rice, tortilla, and/or fried food makes it hard to stay keto. The good news is: that’s not correct!
So allow us to share our experiences staying keto all over the world!
Italy: Staying Keto in the Land of Pasta, Pizza, and Gelato
Believe it or not, staying keto in Italy is not only possible, it’s easy! When we think of Italian cuisine, images of pasta, pizza, and gelato come to mind. However, for those following a ketogenic diet, the land of culinary wonders can still offer plenty of mouthwatering options.
We spent 2 months all over Italy. And while we didn’t get to enjoy all the pasta and bread and other carby food that Stanley Tucci talked about in Searching for Italy, we found low carb options in every restaurant in every region of Italy.
Thailand: Unlocking Keto Delights in Southeast Asia
Known for its vibrant street food culture and aromatic dishes, Thailand might initially appear to be a challenging destination for keto enthusiasts. However, Thai cuisine offers several keto-friendly choices. Opt for grilled or roasted meats like moo ping (grilled pork skewers) or gai yang (grilled chicken) and pair them with stir-fried vegetables or a flavorful green curry without rice. Embrace the country’s abundant seafood options, such as steamed fish or prawn dishes, and explore coconut-based curries for a rich and satisfying ketogenic experience.
Mexico: Unraveling Keto Treasures in the Land of Tacos
Mexico’s culinary landscape is renowned for its corn-based delicacies and zesty flavors. However, traditional Mexican cuisine also includes many keto-friendly options. Seek out taco stalls and opt for lettuce wraps instead of tortillas, savoring delicious fillings like grilled meats, avocado, and pico de gallo. Indulge in guacamole, ceviche, or enjoy a hearty bowl of menudo, a traditional soup made with tripe and spices. With a bit of creativity and customization, you can enjoy the flavors of Mexico while maintaining your keto lifestyle.
Jamaica: Discovering Keto Paradise in the Caribbean
Jamaican cuisine is a fusion of African, European, and Indian influences, resulting in a diverse range of dishes. The island is famous for its jerk chicken and delicious curries, so you can find plenty of keto-friendly options. Opt for grilled meats like jerk chicken or pork, paired with callaloo (a leafy green vegetable) or steamed vegetables. Explore the seafood delights Jamaica has to offer, such as steamed fish with a side of sautéed greens. Don’t forget to savor the local flavors through spicy seasonings and sauces, which can add a delicious kick to your meals.
Vietnam: Navigating Keto in Southeast Asia’s Culinary Haven
Vietnamese cuisine is renowned for its fresh ingredients, vibrant flavors, and noodle-based dishes. While noodles may be off-limits for keto, Vietnam offers a wealth of alternatives. Sample dishes like pho, a flavorful soup traditionally made with rice noodles, by opting for a version without noodles or with shirataki noodles instead. Savor grilled meats, fresh seafood, and refreshing salads like goi cuon (spring rolls without rice paper). Vietnamese cuisine’s emphasis on herbs, spices, and aromatics makes it a keto paradise, allowing you to enjoy an explosion of flavors without sacrificing your dietary goals.
Those are just a few examples of how easy it is to stay keto all over the world.
Importance of Travel Keto Snacks and Fast Food Alternatives
While exploring these diverse culinary landscapes, having travel-friendly ketogenic snacks and knowledge of keto fast food options can be a lifesaver.
After all, the BIGGEST problem we have staying keto is convenience. ‘Hand food’ like sandwiches, pizza, and pastries are not keto friendly. So it can be hard to grab a quick bite to eat on the go.
Pack snacks like mixed nuts, beef jerky, low-carb protein bars, or cheese sticks to keep hunger at bay during long journeys or when local food options are limited.
Additionally, several fast food chains worldwide offer ketogenic-friendly alternatives.
Look for bunless burgers, grilled chicken salads, or customizable bowls with a protein base and plenty of veggies to stay on track while enjoying the convenience of fast food.
Bottom line – How to Stay Keto While Traveling the World
Traveling the world while following a ketogenic diet doesn’t have to be a daunting experience.
By embracing the local culinary traditions and making informed choices, you can find keto-friendly meals in countries like Thailand, Mexico, Jamaica, Vietnam, and many others.
Exploring the diverse flavors and ingredients these destinations have to offer can be an exciting and rewarding part of your journey.
Additionally, having travel-friendly ketogenic snacks and being aware of keto fast food alternatives ensures that you can adhere to your dietary goals while on the go.
So pack your bags, embark on your adventures, and savor the flavors of the world while staying true to your keto lifestyle. Bon voyage!