It’s really ironic that I’m posting about travel hacks when we are deep in a season of no travel in this Covid19 pandemic. But I wrote this post on staycation (I figured I would support the local economy and at least I got to break out the suitcase again) and even though I didn’t get far away from home, I did bring some simple items to keep my low carb on staycation.
Anyway it brought back memories of how I celebrated milestones after my diabetes diagnosis in 2013. Travel was definitely a milestone as more trips gave me the confidence to manage meals in places without low carb options. So here’s some of my favourite hacks.
1. Plan where you will stay wisely
There was a time when dear hubs didn’t get it. To him, the best holiday was a hotel and going out for meals. For me, the best holiday was an opportunity to visit local markets and supermarkets and cooking up a storm. We’ve finally come to a happy compromise of staying in AirBnBs or apartments where we cook the evening meal together but we go out for other meals in the day as we go sightseeing.
2. Plan your meal on the flight
If your flight lasts more than 5 hours you may want to pack some nuts or cheese or homemade low carb bread. 9 out of 10 diabetic airline meals are too full of carbs (which drives me crazy). It’s so much easier to pack your own meal. Of course if you fly business or first class your options are amazing. But who can afford that anyway…
What’s tricky is the return flight as the country you travel to may not have many low carb options. So I do keep keto bars handy so that I won’t die of hunger!
3. Pack Ready To Eat Shirataki Noodles
One thing I discovered was the Xndo shirataki noodles – it’s vacuum packed and the noodles are not preserved in limewater and can be added straight to any soup you order. So I’ve had great options having beef pho, laksa and other great noodle dishes with just the shirataki noodles. I’ve also been to rustic retreat centers which only serve up meat, veg and rice, and the shirataki noodles substitutes for the rice very nicely.
Unfortunately Xndo’s instant rice option has actual rice in it and so I would avoid it completely. There are shirataki rice options available in other brands but these need to be drained and dry fried to get rid of the limewater. If you have a vacuum sealer you can potentially bag these and travel with them too.
4. Pack Miso Soup Mixes
There are amazing little dehydrated soup mixes available in Japanese groceries. I truly love these because you just need to add hot water and you have a meal! I supplemented this soup with fresh baby spinach from a nearby supermarket because spinach really cooks easily with a little heat and I get my daily fiber in a cup! Of course you can supplement the soup with low carb bread or crackers.
5. Pack Keto Buns
If I am going on a long trip with limited food options, I will always pack keto buns that I make just the day before leaving. If there are refrigeration facilities, these will last for a week and breakfast is solved. I do carry tinned pate or tuna if I’m not sure of the availability of refrigerators. If there are refrigerators I will usually bring some cheese or ham to go with the buns.
6. Buy Eggs Locally
So this was one of the most challenging trips that I was on. I do travel to rural places with limited facilities. No refrigerator, and the resort didn’t even want to fry me an egg for breakfast (they said that the egg they had had to go into the fried noodles!). So our dear hosts bought us a giant tray of eggs from the market and we cooked eggs in the kettle!
So I survived that trip with eggs and interestingly, because the eggs were so fresh and flavourful, I didn’t get sick of them.
7. Travel with a mini cooker and vacuum flask
This usually happens if I’m travelling on my own or if I’m very sure the food at the destination is very carby. The classic example is a church camp where the hotel serves standard food like fried rice or noodles and sweet and sour fish. Eeps. This is where I plan and pack ahead with vegetables like cabbage or zucchini that can keep for longer and I will add some tinned meats like spam. It’s not the lowest carb option but still better than what’s available. Of course this is quite a production because I have to travel with my own seasonings, but little bottles and sachets can be quite light and take up little space. I even have a small knife and mini chopping board!
8. Bring a small bag of almond flour (and sugar substitute)
I only started doing this last year when I discovered that in our family holidays, ending off the meal with a little dessert made us so much more happy. Fortunately I trained kid#2 to make mug cakes. There are plenty of keto mug cake recipes out there and honestly, even if you don’t have baking powder, you can make a decent mug cake out of 4 ingredients – almond flour, butter, egg and sugar substitute. Most AirBnBs will have microwave ovens and this dessert is a cinch. You can always jazz the mug cake up with chocolate, berries or matcha powder.
So there you go. Eight hacks for surviving your next trip when travel becomes possible again. In the meantime, stay well, stay safe and I pray we’ll be traveling again soon.