As you know—or, as I hope is pretty obvious—something I try to use my blog for is helping people see how simple low carb and ketogenic diets can be. When we stick with basic principles and get out of our own way, these ways of eating are very straightforward and uncomplicated. There’s not a whole lot of weighing, measuring, tracking, and rules involved. Yes, you can fall down all those rabbit holes and make yourself as fully neurotic as your heart desires, but for those of us who have bigger concerns in our lives than how many grams of omega-6 fat a chicken leg contains, the beauty of low carb and keto is their simplicity.
Awhile back, I offered some suggestions for dining out while adhering to a reduced carb way of eating. Today, let’s take that a step further and talk about how to stay keto while you’re on the road or on the go. What if you’re in the car for a few hours, or maybe even just a short trip, and the hunger monster attacks?
One approach is to think of it as an opportunity to skip a meal or two. I don’t consider skipping meals to be “fasting,” but if thinking of it as intermittent fasting makes you feel like you have special superpowers, then go right ahead. Going longer between meals is a nice way to keep insulin low and “eat” your own stored body fat more than you might if you immediately chowed down on something as soon as a few mild hunger pangs hit.
However, if you’re having a “hangry” moment—and let’s face it, folks, sometimes these still happen even when you’re a “fat burning beast” and are fat- or keto-adapted—then maybe you’re better off pulling into the nearest gas station or convenience store and foraging for some low-carb provisions. (What, you don’t feel hangry on keto? Like, ever? Okay, maybe it’s just me.)
Here are my suggestions for low carb and keto-friendly foods you can grab in a hurry from gas stations and convenience stores. (We’ll get to supermarkets in a bit, since there are more choices there.) These apply to North America…I’m not sure if convenience stores like this exist on other continents, but I’m guessing you have something similar in other parts of the world. I’ll also tack on suggestions for things to keep in your desk or cubicle if you have an office job and have a place nearby to stash non-perishables.
Food purists, avert your eyes. If you can’t imagine letting anything past your lips that isn’t grass-fed, organic, pastured, small-batch, or biodynamic, this post isn’t for you. (In fact, my entire blog probably isn’t for you, but you’re welcome to stick around anyway.) We’re talking about foods to grab in a pinch, when the highest quality and ethically unassailable stuff might not be available. I’m totally okay with that. If you’re not, that’s fine; I still like ya!
Gas Stations or Convenience Stores
- Pork rinds (plain might be best, but if you’re not a purist, hot & spicy or salt & vinegar flavors are fine; they typically contain little to no sugar but might be seasoned with MSG, yeast extract, maltodextrin, etc. Even so, the carb count is usually 0g per serving.)
- Beef jerky or meat sticks (stick to original or peppered flavors; teriyaki and BBQ are typically higher in sugar)
- String cheese; cheese sticks
- Salami or pepperoni slices or sticks
- Hard boiled eggs
- Nuts (avoid honey-roasted and nut mixes that include dried fruit)
- Dark chocolate (the higher the cocoa percentage, the lower the sugar content, usually)
Beverages: water, diet sodas, hot or iced tea (unsweetened or diet with artificial sweetener), coffee (hot or iced, unsweetened or diet with artificial sweetener—be careful with pre-made iced coffee; it’s usually sweetened with sugar). Pretty much anything that’s sugar-free. This isn’t rocket science, people!
If you have time to go up an aisle or two in a supermarket, you’ll have a wider selection to choose from. Here are some great go-tos from a supermarket run on the road:
- Pork rinds (with or without sour cream dip or guacamole)
- Beef jerky
- Sliced pepperoni, salami, or dry sausage sticks
- Nuts or nut butter
- Pre-cooked bacon (yes, this is a thing!)
- Deli meats and/or cheese: roast beef, corned beef, and pastrami are probably the lowest in sugar, but baked or roasted turkey is fine; avoid or go easy on “honey baked” or “brown sugar” ham or turkey. Salami, prosciutto, mortadella, and other cured meats are great.
- Pre-made egg salad or tuna salad from the deli (ask about ingredients and sugar content)
- Rotisserie chicken
- Canned tuna, salmon, sardines, or mackerel – be sure to buy ones with a pop-top unless you have a can opener handy
- Hard boiled eggs
- Bagged salad greens
- Raspberries or strawberries (and maybe a small container of sour cream or plain yogurt for dipping)
- Salad bar, olive or antipasto bar – many supermarkets now have salad or antipasto bars stocked with fabulous low-carb fare: olives, cheese, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, marinated mushrooms, sliced or chopped hard boiled egg, turkey, grilled chicken, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, radishes, etc.
If you like to live on the edge and are not afraid of eating unwashed produce, you can hit up the produce section and get low-carb vegetables like a cucumber, green bell pepper, radishes, button mushrooms, celery, etc., and just eat them raw. There is zero wrong with this!
Desk Drawer or Cubicle
Lots of flexibility here! You can practically have a supermarket of nonperishables at your fingertips if you have room to store a few things. Keep in mind, however, that if you’re prone to snacking when food is in your immediate vicinity even if you’re not hungry, you might be better off not keeping a keto stash handy. Do what’s right for you.
For those of you who want to have a keto cache at your disposal during the workday, consider the following:
- Pork rinds
- Beef jerky
- Pepperoni or any other cured meats that don’t require refrigeration until opened
- Nuts and/or nut butters (careful here if these are trigger foods for you)
- Jar of coconut, olive, or avocado oil
- Canned tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel
- Dessicated/dried coconut flakes or chips (unsweetened)
- Your favorite vinegars (can be combined with the oils to make a vinaigrette for a lunch salad)
- Hot sauce (doesn’t need to be refrigerated, since it’s vinegar-based)
- Dark chocolate
Depending on your level of “keto purity,” consider keeping Quest bars, Adapt bars, or other low and low-ish carb products on hand.
If you’re a salesperson, company rep, parent, or someone else who spends a lot of time in the car, consider keeping a supply of the following essentials in your trunk. (Also good to keep at the office.) It does no good to buy some of the foods above to eat on the go if you have no way of eating them without making a mess. Tuck a small box in the trunk and stock it with:
- Can opener
- Plastic or metal utensils
- Napkins or paper towels
- Paper plates or bowls (or use plastic containers, wash them at home or in your hotel room, and reuse)
Did I miss anything you consider a staple for when you’re on the go? (Besides, of course, a container of homemade food or leftovers! To be honest, this is really the best way to go if you're a cook. Always make enough to have some left over to spare for another meal or snack. [Tips on that here.])
Disclaimer: Amy Berger, MS, CNS, NTP, is not a physician and Tuit Nutrition, LLC, is not a medical practice. The information contained on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition and is not to be used as a substitute for the care and guidance of a physician. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links.
Amy, have you seen this to add to your car-kit for left overs?ReplyDelete
Hot Logic Mini - Deluxe Package with 6 Cup Pyrex Dish and 150Watt Hot Logic Power Inverter For Vehicle Use - Blue https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076MDVJP9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_LAMSBbFGJAEDD
The research that impressed me, was on mice, they took mice from a crappy Diet, put them on the 5-2, but put them on a Health Diet to. They had 40% brain growth in 6 months... just bought you book... Sent it to my mother, to try and help my father... Hoping it will help, going to try and get my mother to try and do some 5-2 too, without out him really knowing... Have tried to talk to my father about Fasting, but he doesn't want to hear it, even thou he spent 40 years in Hospital Administration... and started with 12 year in food inspection... Hoping this book helps... I put my 16 year old Pug(dog) on 5-2 plus Keto, she lost 7 pounds in 6 week... and it seem to help her mind after a stroke... Me and the wife do 5-2, she said, I think I'm getting smarter, I said, I know I'm getting smarter... Am amazed how much 5-2 helped my thinking and I have terrible Dyslexia, but also noticed how much it helped my spelling...ReplyDelete
Nice article! Common sense, but sometimes we have to be reminded of the obvious. As I was reading about the deli meats, I remembered that I used to buy shaved corned beef and slices of Provolone cheese from the deli. Put the meat on a plate, top it with the cheese, and nuke until warm and melty. I just added both to my shopping list!ReplyDelete
A note about Canned tuna, salmon, sardines, mackerel, be careful in the office. You're coworkers might not be that happy with the smells that go along with those items. I'm relegated to the far end of our table in the cafeteria when I'm eating sardines : )ReplyDelete
Good boost & handy reference guide all in one Amy! And "make yourself as fully neurotic as your heart desires" is PURE GOLD, I love it!ReplyDelete
I like to get prosciutto or Parma ham, slice an avocado, and roll up avocado slices with a fresh basil leaf in the ham. It's easy to roll up and stick together- (i.e., it doesn't unroll)- and it tastes delicious! Pretty filling too. In fact, I find avocados generally quite filling when I have to eat on the run. Macadamia nuts are also good for satisfying hunger. Another favorite of mine is plain coconut yogurt- (made with coconut milk). I live in Germany, so plain coconut milk yogurt is easy to get here- (don't know if they have it in the States).ReplyDelete
YUM! All good stuff!Delete
Hi, Amy! Once again, a superb post! I'd like to share my experience with the Adapt bars you mentioned (and linked to). Have you actually tried these? The description looks amazing, with phrases like "60 grams protein" and "nutritionally dense meal."Delete
In reality, these bars are just 2 inches long and contain 5 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat. Hardly a meal.
And the taste is awful. I purchased the variety pack of 5 flavors and tried the "Cookies & Cream" flavor first. It was grainy (like homemade coconut oil & whey protein powder bars are) and tasted of nothing but coconut.
Finally, the cost cited is $12.99. By the time they added in shipping and tax, the total was $23.99. That means each 2-inch bar cost me $4.80!
I would definitely not recommend these bars. I left a review on their site, but it's not there a day later, so they might not post it at all.
Hey Newman, yes, there are a lot of problems and shortcomings with the Adapt bars. They're actually being reformulated so that they don't melt during shipping (they're manufactured in S. Africa). I don't like the cookies & cream flavor -- I find it too sweet. In fact, they're all a bit on the overly sweet side, and yes, they are *small* bars. I think they're nice to have in a pinch when you feel like you need a little something quickly, but no, it's not going to fill anyone up and it's definitely not a meal replacement. I like it because it truly is "keto," compared to a lot of other products out there that claim to be keto, but are loaded with all kinds of fillers that can affect BG and insulin and sometimes stall fat loss for people. I know the owners of the Adapt Your Life company, and even they would encourage people to eat real, whole foods, and use these bars more as a little sweet treat now and then -- one that people can trust is truly low in total carbs, not just net carbs. But they would not be in favor of people living on these things.Delete
I haven't looked at their product descriptions, but maybe you were confusing the description of these keto bars with their protein bars or some other product they make. These bars definitely aren't 60g of protein. ;-)
No, I wasn't confusing them. Check the web page for the variety pack: https://www.adaptyourlife.com/product/keto-bar-variety-pack/ReplyDelete
"Keto Bar – Variety Pack (5/Box)
The Adapt Bar is lighter than the typical 60 grams protein bar as it is a NUTRITIONALLY DENSE meal containing a very low 2 grams of TOTAL carbs. Try our Variety Pack, includes 5 different flavored Adapt Keto Bars."
No, it doesn't specifically say that these bars are 60 grams of protein, but it's implied. Even as a snack, they're ridiculously expensive if you have to order them online. I'd pay maybe $1 per 2-inch bar, no more.
PS: It's "Hello, NEWMAN!" (with a snarl ala Jerry Seinfeld). Not, Hey, Newman. :-)
Ah, I think I see the issue...they are not saying (nor implying) that the bars contain 60g protein. I think they're just comparing them to a *typical* protein bar that weighs 60 grams maybe. (They're not even saying that typical commercial protein bars contain 60g protein. I think they're talking about the weight of the bar in grams, not the protein content.)Delete
Still, as I hope was clear in my first reply, your criticisms have merit and I agree with some of them.
Is it good to skip a meal or two? May be having ready few quick low carb meals can be a good idea.ReplyDelete
Nice blog about low carb and ketogenic diets. Well I am on my diet and was bit confuse that whether I should skip my meal or breakfast. But after reading this I am quite sure about my diet schedule. Thanks for sharing! Keep posting Bluegreen FoodsReplyDelete