Are you planning an overseas holiday to a far-off European land? Are you going backpacking through Italy or relaxing for a month on a Greek Island? Are you taking the train through France, stopping off at the prettiest cities and towns? If so…LUCKY, congratulations, and can I come too?! But if you’re planning on sticking to keto during your travels, you might be a bit apprehensive on how to do so. I can assure you it is possible!
Here are some easy (and tasty) tips for sticking to keto during intrepid travels through yummy places…
Do your research
Before you finalize your itinerary, research restaurants, markets and hotels/hostels in the places you will be visiting. Keep a little notebook and jot down certain restaurants and markets which have keto-friendly menus.
Find a hotel or hostel which provides full breakfast buffets so you can fill up on eggs and bacon to fuel your days of exploring! Or, find hostels or backpackers which have self-serve kitchens so you can completely control your breakfasts if you choose to eat before you venture out. Make sure you book accomodation in an area which has easy access to markets and supermarkets so you don’t get caught out with nothing but a few cafes in your vicinity.
Also, make sure you take note of travel durations so you can prepare properly. If you’re traveling via train from one city to another, be sure of the travel time and take delays into consideration. This way, you can stock your handbag with keto-friendly snacks before you board the train. These are great snacks which you can buy easily in European cities and towns:
- Cured meats
- Yogurt (as long as it doesn’t sit too long and get warm!)
- Creamy coffee
- A few nuts and seeds
- A square or two of very dark chocolate
Make use of markets
To me, one of the very best parts about traveling through continental European cities and towns is the markets. Rows and rows of stalls filled with fresh, local produce, fish, cured meats, cheeses and so much more. Just be careful to block your nose and rush quickly past the patisserie stalls as the temptation is very real indeed.
Fill your basket with a selection of rich, full-fat cheeses, fresh berries, thick fresh cream, meats and smoked fish. Wander down to the nearest park or waterfront and have the best keto picnic ever. Or, take your ingredients back to your airBnb with a bottle of red wine and create a keto feast to devour in a leisurely fashion as the European sun goes down. Making the most of fresh, local produce, dairy and proteins is a great way to “taste the country” for both keto and non-keto travelers.
When planning your trip, research the markets available in each town and write down the address and hours (or, you know, look on your phone, but I like to go old school!).
Traveling in Europe generally means a lot of walking, wandering and leisurely train travel. This equals hunger…and it can also lead to buying filled, warm baguettes, pastries and ice creams as you wander the streets. To avoid this, make sure you’re equipped with snacks to keep your hunger and therefore temptations at bay.
Start each day with a trip to either a market, supermarket or deli and keep a stash of keto snacks in your bag to nibble on between main meals. This can also be a great way to keep your daily spending to a minimum too, as you’re less likely to stop and eat a full meal as often.
Bring a little tupperware container with you to fit neatly into your bag. It will help to keep your snacks cool, covered and contained. Have a nibble throughout the day and save your sit-down meal for dinnertime. And when it comes to restaurant dinners? Stick to meats, veggies and cheeses on the menu. And of, course a glass of champagne. How could I forget?
Eat before long flights
Long-haul flights are tough, and the food is generally not so great. You can’t guarantee a keto-friendly meal during the flight, leaving you to pick at a few measly mouthfuls. Before the flight, eat a protein and fat-rich meal to keep you full. Take snacks with you too, in the form or jerky, nuts, seaweed chips and peanut butter with celery sticks. In fact, I find that nibbling little bits throughout a flight leaves my tummy feeling a lot more comfortable than if I wolf down a big meal during the flight. You’ll get to your destination satisfied, happy and still in ketosis.
Try keto cycling
If the idea of passing up a cold gelato on a Roman street or a buttery croissant on a Paris boulevard just makes you cry…you can try keto cycling. I bow down to anyone who can resist the baked goods offered in European cities and towns, because I actually can’t think of anything more heart wrenching myself!
Keto cycling is when you have a couple of “carb days” a week amongst your keto days. Perhaps you could nominate two days a week during your travels when you can eat carbs. Don’t go completely nuts, but choose one or two items you’re dying to try. For example, you might enjoy a warm pastry for breakfast in Paris on Saturday, and a creamy potato dish on the side of your steak the next day in the French countryside. You might choose a pizza dinner on Saturday in Naples, then a pasta dinner in Rome the next Thursday. That way, you can enjoy all of the carb-rich offerings while still maintaining a solid keto basis.
Happy travels and happy eating!