The weather is warming up and despite the unusual circumstances of 2020, there seems to be plenty of opportunities coming up in the next few months to dig out the tent and sleeping bags and head out for an adventure.
But how does this work with your keto diet?
We are here to assure you that camping on a keto diet has never been easier, and there is no need to take a break to fit in the social outing.
If you are brand new to the keto diet or looking to take your first steps towards the keto lifestyle, we do have a small word of caution. If there is a camping trip in the near future, you might want to push back your keto “start date” until after your return. While we hate giving you an excuse to delay it, here is why.
The keto diet gets its name from ketones, a type of water-soluble compound created by the body when burning fats.
When the human body use fats instead of glucose as it’s the main source of energy, it is said to be in a metabolic process called ketosis.
The longer the body is in ketosis, the more ketones will be produced as byproducts.
During this transition phase, the body can feel unwell, showing a variety of “flu-like” symptoms that differ from person to person. These symptoms are temporary but can be aggravated by excessive exercise or shock to the body.
If you have just started a keto diet, or are looking to get started, we would recommend you weigh the effects of keeping your diet while going camping.
However, for those who are comfortable with their keto diet and are in need of advice to maintaining it during the summer camping months, here is a list of some of the best camping-friendly keto foods on the market.
Keto Camping Snacks
Regardless of whether you’re heading out for a weekend hike, or a week-long trek through the mountains, upping your fat intake is essential to keeping your body in ketosis. Here is a list of our favorite handy snacks to keep you fueled in the field.
Salami, sausage and jerky are some of our favorites.
Preserved meat is high in protein, high in fat and doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It can be snacked on or used as the primary serving in any meal. But not all preserved meats are processed the same, so be sure to watch the sodium. Wrap these meats in something to avoid sweating, and stay hydrated.
You can’t go wrong with meat and cheese, or even just cheese by itself. Hard cheeses keep well, and are very high in fat with little to no carbs. Dubliner cheese comes highly recommended by many keto campers, as well as various types of cheese crisps to eat on the go.
Nuts are a camping essential. Our recommendation is to steer clear of peanuts, which are often high in carbs, and stick to almonds, walnuts and macadamia nuts. For an interesting look at which types of nuts are best for keto, see here.
Protein Bars & Homemade Keto Goodies
Energy bars are an essential part of every hiker’s supply list and for keto hikers, it’s the same. However, we stick to bars that are high in protein and low in carbs. Here is a list of the best protein and energy bars for a keto diet, and with it a few ideas of how to make your own!
Make your own Keto Trail Mix
If you are not a fan of expensive brands, why not try a DIY keto trail mix. Making your own mix is easy to do, and will certainly save you some money.
The more mixtures you make, the more your friends will want to come camping with you. You don’t even have to tell them it’s keto-friendly.
Keto Camping Meals
Now that we have snacks out of the way, let’s focus on the bigger stuff. If you’re planning a longer outing or a more serious wilderness trek, you might need to do a bit more planning and preparation to ensure you have enough to keep you going.
This is true for all campers, but a bit more important when we are on a keto diet.
It is especially tough without proper refrigeration, making pre-planned meals essential. Here is our essential keto list of ingredients to pack.
Seems impractical to haul around a bunch of eggs camping, doesn’t it? We agree.
We suggest cracking and scrambling those eggs beforehand, and keeping the egg mix in leak-proof plastic containers. If you want to take it a step further, pre-make and freeze breakfast burritos, and warm them up over the fire in the morning.
Given the availability of refrigeration, you want to be careful about uncooked meet. If you have access to a cooler, load it up with ice and your meat will be fine for a few days. Plan any chicken meals as your first meals to play it safe.
Pre-cooked frozen meat is always a good option for longer trips. As mentioned previously, try and stick with preserved meats when possible.
BulletProof or Butter Coffee:
Don’t forget about the essentials. Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you need to neglect your coffee fix. In fact, it’s more important than ever to ensure you’re getting your fat boost for the day.
Here’s a quick video idea of how take a butter coffee on the trail.
Low Carb Wrap:
We find it much easier to prepare food ahead of time when there is a means of keeping texture intact.
With low carb wraps now readily available or easily homemade, there is a convenient alternative for making keto breakfast burritos or keto lunch wraps. Wrap them in tin foil to keep them dry and fresh, and throw them into the fire to heat them up.
We know, sardines can be an acquired taste. But if you have it, take advantage of enjoying one of the most convenient keto meals on the market. Preserved sardines are high in proteins and fats, low in carbohydrates and densely rich in omega fats.
They are a keto camping superfood.
MCT Oils or powders
If you are familiar with the keto diet, you are most likely familiar with MCTs, the most efficient and fastest energy course for your body and brain. Add some MCT oil to your morning coffee for a high fat boost that will carry you through the day.
So when it comes time to plan for your next camping trip, don’t be nervous about choosing between a weekend away and your keto diet. In fact, when we are in ketosis our body has more energy and needs to eat less, meaning we actually need to pack less food then if we were hauling along carbs for energy.
Fat-adapted keto campers can expect higher energy levels, more efficient metabolisms, and lighter backpacks.
Florence, aka Flo, is the lead editor at keto.fm. Obsessed with nutrition, Flo used the keto + a one meal a day (OMAD) diet to lose 50lbs in under half a year.
After experiencing the benefits first, both mentally and physically, he became one of the many keto ambassadors online.
He is currently working towards becoming a NASM Certified Nutrition Coach.