It can be challenging to travel with any kind of diet restrictions, low-carb, no-carb, vegan, dairy-free, etc. Challenges include accessing the right foods in restricted environments like airplanes and trains, keeping food fresh on the go, and knowing where to source foods that work with the diet.
If you're just starting out on keto, you may ask yourself, how do I eat keto and travel? Yet, knowing how to follow the Keto plan while traveling is key to long-term success for this special diet. Following is a complete breakdown of Keto-friendly travel snack ideas and tips that you can adjust according to where you’re going, how you’re traveling, and how long it will take you to get there.
Here are a few overall ideas to help guide your approach, whether on a plane, train, or foot if you're wondering how to stay Keto while traveling:
- Plan ahead
- Eat ahead of time if possible
- Do some research about options at your destination
- Purchase pre-packaged items like beef-jerky, nuts, nut butters, pickles, baby carrots, or cheese sticks
Ideas Before You Board Your Flight
Figure out if there are any restrictions about the size and number of your snack containers. Airlines do have strict guidelines that you’ll have to follow. The TSA has even more rigid guidelines. If you don’t adhere to their rules, you’ll find your Keto snacks confiscated before you even arrive at the gate.
It might be worth it to bring along a piece of extra checked luggage with your Keto snacks inside. Checked luggage doesn’t carry the same restrictions as carry-on bags, and you’ll be able to have your Keto snacks ready when you arrive at your destination. This will save you the trouble of trying to figure out where to eat Keto in a strange locale.
In your carry-on luggage, you’ll probably be able to pack some unopened, commercial Keto snacks. These could be a bag of almonds or other nuts, a Keto energy bar or something else. Just make sure it’s unopened.
You could also forgo trying to get a Keto snack past the TSA and buy something after you go through security. Be cautioned though, that your choices will be very slim. You might be able to get a salad to go in an airport restaurant or a bag of nuts, but other than that your choices will be limited.
Ideas Before You Go on a Roadtrip or Get in the Car
If you’re driving to your destination, you have many more options for Keto snacks. First, invest in a small cooler and some freeze-ready packs that keep your food cold. You can set the cooler on the passenger seat or behind the driver’s seat for easy access.
Ideas for packing your cooler include:
- tuna sandwich between two lettuce leaves
- nut butter sandwich on lettuce leaves
- beef jerky (not the sugary flavors)
- hard boiled eggs
- nut butter packs for dipping crudités
- jar of pickles (not the butter pickles)
- baby carrots
- full-fat mozzarella sticks
- olives (opt for green or Greek olives over black)
Options Before You Board the Train
You might be tempted to go light on the Keto snacks if you’re traveling by train. After all, most trains have a food service area at a minimum. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling on a luxury passenger train in Europe, you’ll have little trouble finding Keto-friendly foods on the menu. Those rail lines provide almost white table cloth service for discerning passengers. However, most commuter trains in the U.S. offer little more than fast-food fare in cramped “dining cars.” Your choices will range from stale French fries to greasy burgers to bags of chips. Not exactly Keto-friendly.
Don’t find yourself out of luck like this. Instead, pack a few Keto-friendly snacks that won’t attract attention from other passengers. In other words, no sardines or tuna sandwiches!
Ideas for non-messy — and non-smelly — train snacks include cold chicken salad, crudités and nut butter dip, cherry tomatoes and pork rinds.
Options If You Go Hiking
You’ll definitely want to bring along some high energy Keto snacks when you go hiking. Hiking can be very exerting depending on whether you’re hiking on level ground, rocky terrain, or up mountains. The trick with Keto snacks while hiking is that you want something you can quickly eat without having to stop and spread out an entire picnic area! These snacks can be kept in your pocket so you can easily munch without losing a step.
First on the list is nut butter packs. These squeezable packs are the perfect fuel for a busy day of hiking. They’re high in protein and fat and easy for your body to use as energy right away.
Next up is pepperoni or salami sticks. These are full-on meat protein that your body can quickly convert to energy. They’re light as a feather so they won’t weigh you down while hiking, and, like the nut butter packs, you can enjoy them without breaking stride.
Hemp seeds deserve a special place in your pocket. Ideally, pack them in little plastic baggies so you can out a handful whenever you stop to rest. Alternatives include sesame seeds and hulled sunflower seeds.
Commercial snacks have a place when hiking if you’re on a Keto diet. There are lots of options, like avocado crisps and Keto bars. Try not to make these your primary snack, though. Many of these have some filler ingredients that don’t necessarily support a really clean Keto diet plan.
Avoid foods on your hike that will go bad or get mushy. Even hard cheese can get sweaty and unattractive after a long, hot hike. Stick to the suggestions above and you should be fine.
Finally, you could put together your own trail mix. The trail mixes you find in stores probably have a lot of ingredients you don’t want on a Keto diet including, surprisingly, sugar. Instead, mix up your own bag of trail mix using fresh ingredients like oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruits. When choosing which dried fruits to use, read the label carefully so as to avoid added sugar. It’s everywhere!
For extra pep, squeeze orange, lemon or lime into your water bottle for your hike. It will be amazingly invigorating after a long, hot day of hiking.
These Keto-friendly snack ideas should stand you in good stead for whatever traveling you intend to do. Be sure to pack enough for your return journey if you aren’t going to be staying long enough to go shopping for Keto-friendly snacks at your destination.
Written by Kathleen Simmons
Kathleen Simmons holds a Master's Level Nutrition and Wellness Certification from the American Fitness Professionals & Associates. She is a firm advocate of the Keto diet lifestyle, both personally and in her professional life.
Learn More About Other Healthy Ingredients in Our Delicious Nut Butters or Read Our Ultimate Guide to Nuts.