Thursday, May 2, 2013

5 Tips To Manage Your Low Carb Road Trip

My boyfriend and I are about to set off on our third trip across Canada (well almost, Halifax to Calgary) and I thought I would compile a few manageable tips to help you manage your low-carb diet while you spend time on the road.

With few resources to cook while on-the-road it can be hard to stay inspired while driving long-haul. You would be surprised at the number of better options you can find roadside than the traditional bag of chips and can of pop, but it is still vital to keep your eyes on the prize and think of the long-term consequences of consuming carby calories when your on the road. You will look and feel better if you keep away from the sugars and starches and keep these tips in mind.

Tip #1:
Pack your snacks. Before you hit the road sit down and make a grocery list, pack the items you would normally eat during the week (and will keep while your on the road) and include a couple treats. If you think about your meal structure and plan ahead a bit you will stay on course to keep the carbs out of your diet. Great treats for your drive are protein bars like 'Quest Bars'. Available in many flavours they are perfect low-carb, gluten-free sweet treats that will leave you fill and help you skip the hunger-pain stops that can delay your trip.

Tip #2:
Keep away from 'Rest Stops' and gas stations when possible. Clearly if you are on a road-trip you will need to stop for gas, but if you stick by the pump your wallet and waistline will thank you. Wether you are looking for a quick treat or a meal, these quick fixes are not a great solution. Pull off the road (if you have time) and grab a meal at a proper restaurant or a snack at a grocery store. Many grocery stores have great salad options, restaurants offer more as well. There is little variety at 'rest stops' and gas stations, I often get sick of the quick fixes and start getting into carby treats after a few quick stops. Pay at the pump if possible and then get back on the road, do not be tempted by the cheap sugary fixes. Your best bet at gas stations are things like pork rinds, cheese, nuts and diet drinks. There are options, just not many good ones. You may get sick of these things if you continuously consume them.

Tip #3:
Plan your stops and their outcomes, including a trip to the grocery store. If you pre-plan where you are stopping you can hype yourself up for your breaks, this can provide an added push to get places on schedule. On your planned stops plan a trip to the grocery store. You will find better prices at grocery stores and won't be tempted by gas-stop specials. Stretching your legs at a grocery store will also give you a little exercise on what can be sedentary days. Grocery stores and pharmacies also have Atkins products which can help you out in a bind. If your into protein shake breakfast like me you can stock up on shakes and save buying yourself breakfast in a restaurant.

Tip #4:
Beware of Ice Coffee. This is an everyday lesson that I have learned the hard way, time and time again. Many fast-food restaurants have this seemly good option, few actually deliver with little sugar and few carbs. Stick with places like McDonald's, other restaurants like Tim Horton's and Starbucks have sugar in the base of the coffee; meaning even if you order it black you will unknowingly consume sugar. McDonald's black, only cream and sugar-free vanilla iced coffees are your safest bets!

Tip #5:
"... no bun*." If you have been keto or low-carb for any amount of time this is a common phrase. Do not even tempt yourself. If you are eating on-the-go there is a higher chance you will keep you hands clean and give into the bun. Many places will now dish up your burger or sandwich in a special way to help you have an easier time. As long as you ask, they will usually deliver. You may get a few strange looks, but keep your best interest in mind. Working in the fast-food industry many people asked me about ordering a burger without a bun at first, but after I explained to them my problems digesting wheat they had new perspective on why I chose to order more meat and no bun. Don't forget to grab a knife and fork too!
Dining in places like California it is common for restaurants to give you lettuce leaf 'bun' if you ask for no bun. Many places I have dined actually come let you know they offer other options if remove the bun and put it on the side of your plate.
*You may want to nix the ketchup too. Some restaurants load their burgers with a surprising amount of ketchup, beefing up your burger with sugary carbs.