In Categories: Practical Tips

Written with contributions from Virta patients.

Travel can be tough enough without also being challenged by food choices. Between canceled flights, traffic delays, or even the perfectly planned trip, schedules outside of our normal day to day can present some tough situations. So let’s take away meal choices from that list of challenges!

The number one tip: BE PREPARED! From the occasional road trip or even just a hectic day to being on the road all the time, having those go-to food options will leave you feeling prepared! Have a meal before you leave the house, bring along some backup snacks, and seek out low carb options from restaurants, convenience stores, and perhaps some unexpected places like drug stores. And remember, you’ll get even better with practice. Seeking out low carb options and conquering travel will get easier over time!

For tips on how to best stay on track while on the road, we turned to the experts: Virta patients. This is what they had to say.

1. Keep it simple

Virta patients emphasized the importance of simplifying your planning. Sticking to the basics can help you stick to your goals and keep you from getting overwhelmed. Most restaurants and grocery stores will have protein sources and vegetables available – don’t forget to ask for extra fat for satiety!

“I look for a lot of taverns or bistros, any place where I can get a bunless burger with a salad. Second choice is Mexican where I can get grilled meats with vegetables and a fat like guacamole.”

“Eat simple foods. Veggies and small amounts of meat.”

2. Plan ahead

Before leaving for your trip, scope out the food scene where you’re going. Most restaurants have their menus available online these days. If you’re traveling somewhere more remote, make sure to bring along snacks.

“I will usually scope out which restaurants are around and glance at a few online menus if I’m not familiar with them. I bring along my own dressing (in a small container), salt, and snacks that don’t require refrigeration, or sometimes a small cooler & ice pack with snacks and drinks that need to be kept cold in the hot summer.”

“Research ahead of time if you know where you are going!”

If you’re traveling to visit family or friends, make sure to be open about your goals ahead of time so they have an opportunity to support you as well.

“Supply as much of your own food as you can. Grocery run after arrival, or packing it in the car for the road trip. If you have options of where to stay, try for a place you can cook. If you are going to friend’s home for cookouts, tell them you will be bringing something. Make enough to share. If they know you are doing this program, they will be relieved they don’t need to worry about you.”

3. Ask for what you want

Traveling with loved ones or colleagues can be especially challenging. First thing to know is that you’re not alone. We asked our community the hardest parts about traveling and this is what they had to say:

“The hardest part is well-meaning friends and family that want to treat you to a meal, and don’t allow you any say in where you dine.”

“The hardest part is people’s attitude towards this lifestyle. I find people’s non-approving eyes and behavior towards my food choices most disturbing.”

If this is the case, try explaining again before the trip why you’re committed to a low-carb lifestyle. Remind them that guilt-inducing comments or acting like the Food Police are not helpful. The more people understand why you’re making the choices you are, the more likely they’ll be to support them.

When dining out, don’t be afraid to ask for modifications. Most restaurants will be accomodating since they want your business, after all.

“I search for menus before going out to eat but almost everything can be made Virta-friendly. Be assertive and ask for what you want.”

4. Move past lapses

Even when we try our best, sometimes we go a bit off plan. If you do, it’s important not to spend time beating yourself up. Just get right back on track.

“Go back to weighing your protein, measuring your condiments, all the things you did when you first started. The old habits return quickly!”

“I schedule a grocery delivery or pickup for that day or the next day, but also try to have some stuff in the freezer ready for me. I always have a box of Jimmy Dean’s breakfast frittatas in my freezer for my first breakfast back so I don’t have to make anything or am not tempted to stop and get a bagel on my way to work.”

“Acknowledge you did the best you could under the circumstances, and then determine to make the next good choice. Don’t allow for “I blew it” thinking.”

5. Enjoy yourself!

At the end of the day, trips and vacations are meant to be enjoyed. Brainstorm ahead of time all the ways to enjoy yourself there that don’t involve food. Go on a hike or walk to explore your new area. If you’re visiting loved ones, focus on spending time with them.

“Travel is fun. Try not to make every food decision be about whether that restaurant has food you can eat. Just do your best and remember to eat a little extra fat when you can to help you feel full and curb cravings!”

Make the most of your adventure and safe travels!


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    Hard boiled eggs and nuts are easy to carry. You always get some salt from the cabin crew.


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    Good old-fashioned common sense.


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    Great advice! Very relevant to business travelers especially. Thank you.


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    Marlana McClure July 5, 2018 at 4:53 am

    Most people say diet and it aggravates me cause I am making this my life choice to keep eating this way


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    What would you eat if you have gout and can’t have meat .


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      We have a guide for vegans and vegetarians here!


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    How can you eat this lifestyle with an egg allergy?


    1. Virta Health

      Hi Tess, thank you for your question. Yes, you can absolutely follow a low carb lifestyle with an egg allergy. If you choose to apply and participate in Virta, your personal health coach will provide you with a lot of flavorful options for breakfast.


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    Great tips!

    I’ve taken vacuum packs of olives, tins of fish, home made grannola, and LC bread [nut free] nut butters and nuts [latter may no be able to have on a aircraft] on trips.

    Cooked breakfasts in hotels where you can serve yourself are great options couple of eggs and a piece of bacon, with BIG serving of mushrooms to which I add lots of butter pats. Helps up fats and keep protein in check then I have a second meal mid afternoon early evening.

    I’ve found I eating meat late at night is not a good option for me, so if it ends up being late after 6pm then I try to look for fish on the menu again add in fat in the form of butter [have been known to take my own and salad dressings]

    I know which chain restaurants I can eat at easily, Indian restaurants are easy to adapt and offer great choice. I’ve also eaten South American restaurants a bit harder with less choice. And fish restaurant can offer good choice.

    We have an annual celebratory meal at local silver service restaurant where you can end up with 3-4 potato choices on your plate, this year I emailed them ahead and they put celeriac on the menu for us!


    1. Virta Health

      Wow! Great tips, Maria. Thanks for sharing!


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