|January 5, 2022

How to Stay Keto While You’re in the Great Outdoors

By Rebecca Paredes
Reviewed by Emily Gonzalez, ND for Scientific Accuracy

How to Stay Keto While You’re in the Great Outdoors

  • Whether you’re going on a local hike or planning a day trip, you need to eat.
  • The keto diet is a sneaky way to support lasting energy, without the energy roller coasters you get from carbs.
  • Find out what keto hiking snacks support a high-fat, lower-carb diet, and how to stay hydrated on the trail.

When we had originally pitched an article about the intersection of keto, hiking and other outdoor activities, we had a plan. We were going to write about how the ketogenic diet is amazing for activities like endurance hikes and long-distance backpacking. That’s because burning fat for fuel supports steady, lasting energy, which means you can spend more time on the trail and less time feeling hangry.

Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Change of plans. Now, we’re all sticking close to home.

Even if your epic cross-country trek has turned into a day hike staycation, there are still considerations to keep in mind if you’re on a low-carb diet. Here’s what you should know before you go, plus tips to stick to your keto diet while you enjoy the great outdoors.

What keto hikers should know ahead of time

Person walking on path in nature

Heading outside to feel the sun on your skin and earth under your feet feels like a luxury — especially now. If a hiking trail or campground is open near you, you might be wondering how you can trek responsibly right now. Many public health experts agree that it’s low-risk to spend time outside, as long as you take certain precautions.

Before you head anywhere, do this:

  • Check the open status: The status of trails, parks and campgrounds vary by location. Some national parks are open with restrictions or limited hours. Check your local government or Recreation.gov for more info.
  • Stay local: In an article , Kate Van Waes, executive director of the American Hiking Society, recommends staying close to home to avoid spreading the virus from one community to another. “The farther you travel, the more stops you’re making, the more touch points you’re having,” she said.
  • Maintain social distancing: Wear a mask if you’ll be near other people. Keep 6 feet of distance between you and other hikers on trails.
  • Bring the essentials: In addition to the basics, like a mask and hand sanitizer, bring keto hiking snacks to keep your energy up (and avoid having to run into a store or restaurant for lunch).

Keto hiking snack list

Vanilla fat bombs on white background

The keto diet and outdoor adventuring are a perfect match because burning fat for fuel is the secret to steady, lasting energy. Carbs are great, but they can contribute to energy swings and cravings that leave you feeling fatigued. That’s why we’re big fans of high-fat, lower-carb foods to keep you going strong. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Jerky: Made for the trail, jerky is an easy way to keep your protein up. Look for grass-fed, higher-fat options like beef jerky. Keep an eye on the ingredients list.  Some varieties of jerky are high in sugar, which may kick you out of ketosis.
  • Nuts and nut butters: Look for high-fat, lower-carb options like macadamia nuts, pecans and almonds. We like cashews, which have a healthy balance of fat types.
  • Protein bars: Keto-friendly protein bars will be made with healthy fats and minimal sugar. Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bars are made with cashew butter, MCT oil, coconut oil and no added sugar.*
  • Keto coffee: Start your day with a creamy, high-fat Bulletproof Coffee to kickstart ketone production and help you feel full and energized. The benefit of a day hike is that you have time to make your coffee at home — or bring it with you with a grab-and-go Bulletproof Coffee Cold Brew.
  • Avocado: Soft on the inside, tough on the outside, avocados are high-fat powerhouses that travel well in a sturdy container. Find out more benefits of avocados.
  • MCT oil packets: You might have heard of traveling with coconut oil for easy access to satiating fats. But if you’re on the keto diet, you really want C8 MCT oil — the most ketogenic part of coconut oil. Brain Octane GoPacks are handy, single-serve packets you can take anywhere and drizzle over other keto hiking snacks.

*not a low calorie food

Keto hiking and hydration

Woman drinking water outdoors

It’s common to have higher water needs on the keto diet. Lower-carb diets generally lead to water loss, which can change the way your body handles electrolytes. These are minerals that help your body carry out regular functions.

On the keto diet, you want to make sure you’re getting enough magnesium, potassium and sodium in your diet. You can get these electrolytes naturally in whole foods — for instance, nuts are good sources of magnesium and potassium.

But it’s hot out there, and if you’re going to sweat a lot during your hike, consider taking an electrolyte supplement to stay hydrated. Look for keto-friendly options that contain magnesium, potassium and sodium without added sugar, like Nuun, which dissolves easily in water.

Even if your outdoor travels look different this summer, you can still stay keto wherever you go. Plan ahead, pack keto food, bring a mask and enjoy the sunshine — it’s good for you.

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