July 30, 2019 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Ketogenic Diet , Weight Loss

I’m willing to bet if you’re trying keto you’ve already tried a fair share of diets, and those haven’t worked out so well for you in the past.

Lucky guess?

Don’t worry, we’ve all been there –myself included. 

Way back when I first started to diet, I just tried to eat less. But surprise, surprise, since I was eating a standard American diet at the time, I was hungry All. Of. The. Time. So then I put the kibosh on the portion control and tried more fad diets than I can count. Spoiler alert: They didn’t work either. 

Then I learned how the body really works. As a result, I started to follow a keto diet. Then finally ‘dieting’ suddenly became easy and I started to realize all of the different reasons why dieting didn’t work for me in the past. 

One of the biggest reasons why I failed at those previous diets was because of convenience. Carbs are admittedly tasty, and processed foods are often cheap, readily available and look appetizing. 

This is even truer when you’re traveling. Airports offer a ton of ready-made foods, which are even more tempting when you’re stressed and on the go.

And it’s more difficult if the language is incredibly different to English, or if you’re hopping between places and have to take what’s in front of you, or there simply aren’t any good options available.

However, there are some things you can do to maintain your keto diet when you’re out of your domestic routine. Let’s not mess around here, keto is a lifestyle, not a fad. 

It all comes down to the same reason you do keto in the first place: asserting yourself and taking responsibility for your health. Read on to see my top five recommendations to stick with keto while you travel…

Don’t be afraid to ask for a change in the food

It seems strange to be beholden to a set menu, but this is the type of mindset we have when we order food. We think that the food is the restaurant’s and that’s just how it is. But all you have to do is ask for a slight adjustment. There’s no need to be afraid. After all, you’re the customer. 

What you can do is pick foods where the carbohydrate portion of the food is easy to spot and remove. 

For example, if you order a burger you can simply ask for it without the bun and presto! Carbs removed! What would be far harder is some sort of mixed dish like a casserole or a salad. Luckily, restaurants often have swappable options or a choice of sides, where you can opt for more vegetables instead of fries. 

Sure, there are some language barriers. It’s one thing to point at a menu item, but it’s another to request something specific if you don’t speak the language. However, a couple of words in the language should suffice, even if they are just ‘without bread.’

Like language, you can indeed run into some cultural issues. For example, in France, they are proud of their cooking, and rightly so! It’s therefore frowned upon to go around dictating how you’re going to nitpick their craft and not appreciate their effort.

For situations like these, unless you really don’t care about offending people, I’d suggest simply picking a different menu option. Luckily in France, the food is quite often high-fat, and if you choose well, low-carb too. The French do love their butter!

Be OK to waste a little food

An alternate take on requesting food be served differently is simply to ignore how it’s presented. In France, if you don’t wish to offend the chef by demanding it be served in a different way, you can simply just not eat the carbohydrate portion.

Just because it’s served on your plate doesn’t mean you have to eat it. If you get a regular burger you can just leave the bread.

In fact, it some countries, it’s actually tradition not to eat everything on your plate. In China, it’s an ancient custom in some provinces, as it indicates the host was hospitable enough to give you more than enough food. 

Plan ahead of time

As I said, carbs are convenient. It’s so easy to stress-eat or to graze when you feel lethargic. 

This is why it’s so important to plan ahead and make or bring food with you for when you get cravings. Before I started keto, I can’t tell you how many times I kicked myself after breaking my diet on a whim. 

The truth is, if I just had the right food on me at that time, once I ate it, the craving would have been gone. The feeling is exactly the same after you get the sugar rush from sampling the local sweets, except you feel amazing when you stick with keto and not like you’ve been hit by a truck full of guilt.  

It’s the same reason you need to plan ahead for the holidays. Lots of extra temptations are likely to pop up. This is even more important when you travel on an airplane. You’re stuck in that sardine can for however many hours, and all you have to buy is what the catering staff has, and they usually don’t serve just keto foods.

This is why I always try and bring keto snacks with me to have on the plane or find some at the airport. With prior planning, you’ll be less tempted to indulge and you’ll thank yourself later.

Eat on your own before you meet up with friends

There’s no way of getting around the fact that food isn’t just nutritional. The decision to go keto is based on a thorough look at what you put in your body as a fuel source, but unfortunately, the real world doesn’t view food like this.

Rather, food and eating is a social activity, steeped in tradition. I bet a lot of diet slip-ups come from this social pressure –who are you to refuse your mother-in-law’s cheesecake? You don’t want to come across as rude.

Instead, while it may seem utterly crazy and antisocial, I sometimes eat before I go out. I’ll eat the specific things I need, and then when I go out I’ll just have a light salad with oil. It means you don’t dampen the activity of eating with your friends, but you aren’t tempted to pig out and wreck your progress.

Forgive yourself if you slip up

Just like in psychology, an ‘all or nothing’ attitude is a really bad idea. While we like to live in ideals and set goals for ourselves, but when it comes to real life, there’s lots of grey area.

This is 100 percent true for dieting as well. As much as we’d like it to be, the majority of the world isn’t keto, and you won’t always have the keto option –and that’s OK.

My advice on health, in general, is that you should take responsibility for your health and what you can control, as much as possible. But It’s not always possible –and that’s OK too.

If you slip up on your diet, you have two choices: You can view your diet as a failure, give up and stuff your face with carbs. Or, you can take the mindful approach, say, ‘That mistake is in the past’ and keep moving forward on your weight-loss journey. 

I think the second option is far better. Use it as a learning experience: Figure out why you slipped up and how to avoid it in the future. You’re going to be in a much stronger position and understand yourself and the diet much better this way.


Maintaining a keto diet in this unhealthy society we live in can have its challenges. But with some planning and effort, it is possible. You simply need to lay out the potential pitfalls in advance so you can clearly see how to avoid them.

Once you take responsibility for your own diet everything becomes easier, and it’s simple. Try and order foods that best suit your needs, or see if you can adjust them. 

Make sure the right foods are in front of you when you need them, work around society’s obligations around food, and forgive yourself if you don’t always meet your own expectations. Implement these strategies and your keto diet will be far more successful and enjoyable.

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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