I’m excited to introduce a new guest writer to Life’s Carousel. Penny from Remake My Plate is a true Keto expert.
Not only is she a registered dietitian with a degree in nutrition, but she also has a
Penny’s dietitian super-power is understanding that most people already know what they should and shouldn’t eat, the problem is that people don’t know how to make the changes they need to. She helps people make changes to their lifestyle!
If you want to learn more about the Ketogenic Diet then please check out my post: Ketogenic Diet for Beginners
One of the issues that many of us face is how to stick to a healthy eating lifestyle when we are on vacation.
Penny recently went on vacation and she shares with us the exact meal plan she used to stay on keto on vacation!
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
Recently, my husband and I went on vacation. With no access to a refrigerator and no way to cook a meal, eating in restaurants every night was our only option.
Normally this means that sticking to any kind of food plan is difficult and I’m pretty much guaranteed to come home weighing 5
This type of crazy adventure would never have been possible 14 years ago. I was a lot heavier then but lost 120 lbs. Since then I have followed some version of a low carb/keto diet to help keep the weight off. I have my routine meals that I make when I’m at home. But eating away from home can be a challenge.
I don’t know about you but for me eating on vacation means trying to find something that will be suitable
Falling Off the Keto Wagon
One or two days off plan usually just led to more days which led to regaining weight. I can tell you that I’ve taken a handful of trips and returned home 5 or more pounds heavier and then had to struggle to get back on track. Yikes!
If you’ve been following a keto diet then you know that it takes a bit of time to get into ketosis. Ketosis is the state in which your body uses ketones, which are created during the breakdown of fats in the liver, as a fuel source to give you energy. If you eat carbs then your body will use glucose that comes from the carbs as the main source of fuel.
Getting into ketosis doesn’t happen overnight. It usually takes a few days to kick in and can even take weeks for your body to become fully adapted to using ketones for energy.
Because of this, having a “cheat day” where you eat lots of things containing carbs will kick you out of ketosis. Then it’s back to the beginning again
Once in ketosis
Eating Keto on Vacation
Which brings me back to the question of what in the world can I eat while on vacation?
Success loves preparation. Since I wanted to succeed then I had to start planning some quick, easy meals that required no cooking or heating.
While on vacation I had access to a cooler and we could pick up ice to keep things cold so that would help. With a bit of creative
If you are tracking your macronutrients (fat, protein, carb, and fiber) I have included some basic information for you found at the very end. Always check the stats and the serving sizes of the products that you use and keep in mind that not everyone will have the same macronutrient goals.
- Bottled water
- No-calorie drinks+
We brought a case of bottled water with us and a few of our favorite no calorie drinks.
- Salad dressing
If you enjoy using particular condiments with wraps or dressing with your salad (which made up some of my meal plan) then pack a small container.
In our case
We also brought along some salt and pepper because we enjoy it on our eggs. Check your local grocery store spice isle for a set of cheap salt and pepper shakers. I found a set there for about a dollar.
- Cooked breakfast sausage
- Hard boiled eggs
- Low-carb tortillas
I found burrito sized lower carb tortillas at my local grocery store. They were big enough to make a large burrito. It also made a good sized meal even when split in half.
We planned to eat the sausage and eggs for breakfast. On one day I also used some of the low carb tortilla rolls to make breakfast roll ups.
Got a favorite breakfast roll up ingredient? Why not pack it for your trip.
For our next trip we are going to include a small jar of salsa to use in our breakfast roll ups.
- Low-carb tortillas
- Cooked, shredded chicken
- Cooked steak, onions and peppers
- Sliced cheese
- Cheese roll-ups
The cheese rollups are made by taking our favorite sandwich meat and rolling it around a cheese stick. For our trip I used mozzarella, cheddar and
The sandwich meat included turkey breast, ham and a delicious rosemary ham that I found at the deli counter. They make a great grab and go snack or can be used as part of a heartier meal.
Our planned lunches included low carb burritos filled with a mixture of shredded meat (chicken or steak), cheese, avocado and salad greens topped with dressing or mustard. We also made burritos filled with avocado, several cheese rollups, salad greens and mayo/mustard.
- Prebagged salad mixes
- Cooked, shredded chicken
- Cooked steak, onions
The original plan was to make a big loaded salad to eat for dinner each night. But it takes a lot of cooler space to pack individual salad items.
We bring our scooters with us so we can travel around to see the sights while on vacation. The small cooler we strap on the back doesn’t hold a whole lot. Packing on those ingredients would have been impossible.
But then I had a great idea for a quick and easy meal. Before we set out on our adventure we cut the top of the salad bag open, added our extra salad fixings (shredded chicken, steak, cheese, avocado, diced egg, etc), packed the salad dressing and forks then we were on our way!
These ‘salad on the go’ were great! No plates to pack. No extra ingredients to take up cooler space. Super easy to clean up after eating. When you’re done you just toss the bags.
A quick word on the bagged salad mixes…
My husband loves the bagged salad blends from Fresh Express. They include chopped cabbage which gives it a great crunch. These salads contain a blend of greens plus a packet that contains dressing and some other ingredients.
Not all the extra ingredients are keto friendly. Some of the dressing mixes are high in carbs as well as some of the extra ingredients such as tortilla strips and croutons. Depending upon how many carbs you eat in a day you may want to avoid those mixes, or at least remove some of the ingredients, and stick with the mixes that only contain salad greens.
- Cheese slices
- Hummus and carrots (please note: these are higher in carb items and not typically eaten by those on a keto diet. Occasionally I enjoy having them but I am aware that I can eat a higher amount of carbohydrates and not get kicked out of ketosis. Your mileage my vary on this item).
In the end
And how did the meal plan work out?
Except for one meal out at a steakhouse, my husband and I ate all our meals from the food we brought. The food was tasty and we didn’t spend a small fortune on purchasing meals out.
There was enough variety to not be bored. The meals were able to be easily packed into the cooler for traveling.
The best part of all, unlike other vacations away, I returned weighing exactly what I did when I left. That’s a win in my books!
Below you will find some of the nutritional information for what we ate. Of course, depending upon what you use, this might not be exact.
F = Fat
C = carbohydrate
P = Protein
FB = Fiber
K = Calories
gm = gram
Cooked breakfast sausage (1oz serving/1 link K=95, F=8gm, P=5.5gm, C=0gm, FB=0 )
Hard-boiled eggs (K=72, F=5g, P=6.3 gm, C=0.4gm, FB=0)
Avocados (1/2 avocado, K=183, F=16gm, P=3.5gm, C=12gm, FB=8.5gm)
Burrito-sized low-carb tortillas (K= 110, F3.5 gm, P=7gm, C=23, FB= 13gm)
Cooked, shredded chicken (½ a chicken breast K=142, F=3.1gm, P=26gm, C=0, FB=0)
Cooked steak (3 ounces of steak K=155, F=6gm, P=23.4 gm, C=0, FB=0)
Onions and peppers (1/3 cup cooked has K=20, F=0.2gm, P=0.7gm, C=4.6, FB=0.7gm)
Sliced cheese (1oz American sliced cheese has K=92.7, F=6.8gm, P=5.5gm, C=2.3 gm, FB=0gm)
Feta cheese (1 ounce K=74, F=6gm, P=4gm, C=1.1gm, FB=0)
Avocados (½ an avocado has K=161, F=15gm, P=2gm, C=8.5gm FB=7gm)
Cheese roll ups – 1 cheese stick with 2 slices ham sandwich meat (K=140, F=7.4gm, P=16.6gm, C=1.4gm, FB=0gm)
Salad mix –
Ranch dressing (2 tablespoons, K=110, F=11gm, P=1gm, C=2gm, FB=0gm)
Dry roasted almonds (22 nuts/1 ounce K=169, F=14.9gm, P=6.2gm, C=5.4gm, FB=3.3gm
An average day:
- ½ breakfast burrito with 2 sausage/2 eggs,
- whole lunch burrito with chicken, feta cheese, ½ an avocado, bit of salad greens and some dressing
- ½ a bagged salad with steak, onions, peppers, hard boiled egg, cheese and ½ an avocado
This came in around 1,700 calories, 102 grams of fat and 40 net grams of carbs.
Looking to cut more carbs out? Simply eat the breakfast and lunch items without the low carb burrito to reduce the carb count to 25 net grams.