Both for a weekend getaway or for a longer vacation, holidays with the ketogenic diet require a lot of organisation. In collaboration with Nutricia, I wrote some tips on traveling with a medical ketogenic diet for Ketocafé in Dutch. Via this post I also want to make these tips available for people who speak English.
There are some essential items you shouldn’t forget if you go away for a weekend or for a longer period. Unless you’re going somewhere in the middle of nowhere, you can always buy fresh fruits and vegetables in a supermarket. But a good scale, for example, can’t be found just anywhere. Therefore, don’t forget to put these items in your bag.
- Your very precise scale that you always use when preparing ketogenic food.
- Everything you need to make ketogenic calculations (e.g. computer, ketocalculator, etc.)
- The emergency protocol that you probably received from the hospital. The one that outlines the intravenous drip policy and what to do in case of illness with the ketogenic diet. It may be helpful to translate these into the language of the country you are going to.
- If you travel by plane: a medical letter indicating what products and liquids you will need on board.
- The chart with the amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins and fats your child should have each day.
- The equipment that you need to measure glucose and ketone levels in your child’s blood
- Enough vitamins for each day you are away.
- Medical food like liquigen or ketocal (if your child uses it)
- Insurance card and ID of your child.
- Ingredients from a specific brand that you use daily and that your child loves. For example, a certain type of limonade or peanut butter.
- Your child’s favourite bottle for drinking
A weekend away with your child following the keto diet
If you only go away for 2 to 3 days, it is practical to prepare all the meals in advance. That will allow you to relax during the weekend and not have to think about cooking.
You can put each meal in a separate storage container. With tape and a pen you can write on it which meal is for which day. You can then put all the meals together with cooling elements in a cooling bag and you’re ready to go.
Make sure that there is a fridge at your destination. As soon as you arrive you can then store all the food and keep it cold. If there is also a microwave at the place you’re going, that’s a bonus. It is also useful to bring something extra that your child likes. For example olives, pieces of coconut or macadamia nuts in case your child suddenly and unexpectedly has a craving.
A longer vacation away from home
If you’re going away for a longer period of time, it’s not possible to prepare everything in advance. This means you’ll need to bring along the items and ingredients you use to cook ketogenic meals. Think about what cooking utensils and ingredients you need for your child. Check whether those cooking utensils are available on-site. And look up whether all indispensable ingredients of a certain brand are easy to buy at the destination. It is best to take with you whatever you can’t find locally. Bring just a little more than you normally need for the amount of days in question. Due to unforeseen circumstances it may happen that you need to come home a few days later than planned.
Things and ingredients that can also come in handy:
- Storage containers, tape and a permanent marker. This way you can start cooking upon arrival for several days and label each meal appropriately.
- A mixer/purifier.
- Cooling elements.
- A cooler bag for when you go out for the day.
- Macadamia nuts. You can’t always find them in supermarkets and they are often expensive.
- Packets of long shelf life whipping cream.
- A tube of mayonnaise from the brand you always use.
- A jar of olives.
Final tips before departure
- Put the food, cutlery and drinks your child needs during the trip in a separate bag and keep it with you in the car or on the plane.
- Also, it can be worthwhile, if you are going away for a longer period, to prepare the meals for the first few days in advance as you would for a weekend trip. This gives you time to arrive at your vacation destination in a relaxed manner and organise yourself and do your shopping.
- For the same reason, it is also useful to keep some meals in the freezer in your own house so that you do not have to cook immediately when you get home.
Be prepared and have fun :-)!