Travel & Eating Out Guide for Ideal Protein

You can be one of the many IP dieters who lost weight on their vacation or trip. Many of us have done it! We also have many IP dieters who travel exclusively for work. With a little planning, travelling and staying on strict Phase 1 is very doable. Even when most of your meals are out of your control, this tip sheet will give you the tools to make the best choices possible.

What to Pack:

  • IP shaker bottle
  • Ideal salt
  • Supplements
  • Stevia & Splenda
  • Breath strips (for keto-breath)
  • Food Journal
  • Veggie Peeler (in your checked bag)
  • Paring knife (in your checked bag)
  • A supply of ziploc bags and paper towels
  • Enough IP food for the trip
  • Extra food for long days or extra activity
  • Walden Farms dressing packets
  • Cut up veggies from home – if possible
  • A copy of the Phase 1 sheet w/the list of foods you can have.
  • Portable protein from home – if possible (i.e. sliced chicken breast, lean ham, etc.)
  • If checking bags: Ready-made drinks & bottled water!
  • Our E-mail Address (if you get stuck or need support)


Eating On the Plane:


  • Bars or Snacks


  • Crispy Cereal (just get a cup of cold water, a spoon, and mix).
  • Potato Puree (just get a cup with a *little* hot water and a spoon, add sea-salt and packet and mix).
  • Cold drink packets (just bring your empty shaker bottle, and ask for ice water on the plane)

Veggies & Protein:

  • You can bring hard boiled eggs, cut-up veggies and a baggie of pre-cooked protein (like sliced steak, chicken breast or lean ham slices) on most domestic flights. You just can’t bring liquid or gel-like foods.

In the hotel room:

See if you can get a room with a mini-fridge so you can keep some things cold. *Tip: If you say you have a “medical need for a fridge”, the hotel should give you one for no additional charge.

Items you may want/need to refrigerate:

  • Some pre-cut veggies (brought from home, or bought at a grocery store once you arrive).
  • Baggies of veggies you buy once you arrive –prepared using the knife, peeler & baggies you brought in your checked luggage.
  • Leftovers from meals out (i.e. order extra veggies “to go” and bring back to the room for a later snack) · Hard boiled eggs, lunch meat, pre-cooked protein from the deli.
  • Bottles of water. Hotel water can be yucky, and/or expensive. Try to either bring a bunch of bottled water in your checked luggage, or get to a grocery store once you arrive.


If you can’t get a mini-fridge, here are some ideas:

  • Get a bucket of ice from the ice machine, and use the ice and water from the bathroom to mix your IP drinks.
  • Walk to a nearby grocery store and bring back veggies that are okay at room temp: i.e. bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, etc. If you have a big enough ice bucket, you can even store the veggies inside of it in a plastic bag to chill them. When it’s time for your veggies, peel, slice, and enjoy (using the knife & peeler you packed in your checked luggage). Prepare extra so you can take a zip lock baggie or two with you when you go out.


Eating Out:

If you must eat out more than once a day, just duplicate the IP dinner and skip one of your packets. Note: this is exactly how you’ll eat in Phase II, anyway. Avoid carbs. If you end up eating extra fat or protein, just reduce the amount you have later that day or the next day. A little extra fat and/or protein might slow you down, but too many carbs will kick you out of ketosis, cause a weight gain, and stall you for 4-5 days.

If your days are extra-long, if your day involves a large time zone change, or if you’re doing a lot of activity, you may need an extra packet or some additional protein to get you through. This is not a problem. If your stomach growls, have an extra shake (unrestricted). Bring extra shakes (premade or powdered) for this contingency.

At restaurants:

  • Don’t be afraid to “modify, modify, modify!” Ask for what you want and be assertive!
  • Bring your sea salt, and some Walden Farms dressings (if you like them).
  • Ask for what you want. Order protein cooked with no or olive/grapeseed oil, veggies cooked without butter, salad dressings you can have –like lemon wedges & olive oil on the side, etc. Most places are very accommodating.


Great dinner choices:

  • 6 oz. Filet Mignon with steamed broccoli (no butter), with a wild greens salad dressed with lemon, olive oil, sea salt and pepper.
  • Baked tilapia with braised mushrooms (no oil or sugar), with a Caesar salad – hold the cheese and croutons, and sub olive oil & vinegar (not balsamic or red wine vinegar) for the dressing. Add your own sea salt.

Great lunch choices:

  • Cobb salad modified to exclude disallowed items, topped with extra mushrooms and peppers, a sliced chicken breast and dressed with lemon wedges, olive oil and sea salt.
  • A lean 1/3 lb. hamburger, no bun, with mustard and extra lettuce, pickles and red onion. Served with a side-salad dressed with olive oil & vinegar & sea salt.
  • If you have to eat out for breakfast, stick with eggs, lean ham, and veggies. If you’re ordering food, ask that they cook things as you need them – olive/grapeseed oil, no butter, etc.
  • Modify salads. Pick the one that’s the closest to what you can have and ask them to remove the things you can’t. If there isn’t a salad that’s close enough, ask them to create a salad for you by naming the veggies and protein you want on it. If you’re nice, they are usually pretty willing. It doesn’t hurt to leave a nice tip for good service like that.
  • Don’t be afraid to send something back if they mess it up. It doesn’t matter if anyone thinks you’re high-maintenance or snooty for doing so. Your body and your journey to a healthy metabolism are worth a little bit of hassle from time to time. Stand up for yourself and ask for what you need.
  • Bring Ideal Protein snacks (like soy nuts or ridges) to add as croutons/protein on salads – YUM!


Buffets or Pre-Ordered Lunches:

  • As always, stick to lean protein and non-starchy veggies.
  • If it’s a breakfast buffet, do the best you can to avoid sauces, cheese and fatty items like bacon and sausage.
  • Don’t be shy about picking the good parts out of buffet dishes. It may help to just stand there for a moment and pick out the veggies that you can have from mixed veggies. Don’t be afraid to ask the buffet staff for special things, like a side plate of the asparagus they used as a garnish on their eggs benedict. You’d be surprised what you can get if you ask. Be bold! You’re the customer! And be picky and choosy about what you put on your plate.
  • Choose foods with no sauces or coatings as much as possible. Most sauces are carb-heavy and very fatty.
  • If your only choice is a dish which comes drenched in sauce or with cheese, scrape as much of it off as possible.
  • If your only meat choice is breaded, just remove the coating and eat the meat itself.
  • If you’re forced to have a sandwich or burger, choose the one with the most protein (you may need two to get enough) and discard the bread and cheese.
  • Again, as mentioned under ‘Restaurants,’ bring Ideal Protein snacks (like soy nuts or ridges) to add as croutons/protein on salads.


Salad Dressings:

These deserve their own section since they can be a tough issue for IP’ers. Here are some dressing Choices from BEST to WORST:

  • Lemon wedges, a small drizzle of olive oil & sea-salt (which I know you’ll have with you – right?)
  • Walden Farms packets (can be brought in checked luggage)
  • Olive oil & vinegar. Be careful, many restaurants only have red wine or balsamic in their cruets. If that’s the case, go to the next choice.
  • Other dressings – be very careful. They are loaded with sugar, dextrose and other additives that can pop you out of Ketosis.


Pressure to Eat or Drink:

In situations where someone’s pressuring you to eat or drink something off plan, here are a couple ideas to get you out of a tight spot:

Alcohol: If you are having trouble just saying no, try telling them you’re on a prescription where you can’t drink (which is kind of true). We’ve never seen anyone continue to push when they think it’ll effect a medication. A white lie to protect your metabolism is fair. Then consider finding some new friends who won’t pressure you to drink. (Kidding.) (Or maybe I’m not). 😉

Carbs or Other Food: Try telling them you’re on a medical program restricting carbs for 2-3 months (totally true).


Mental Tricks:

If your trip is a vacation, or even if it’s for work but you’re used to associating travel with food indulgence:


Try thinking of IP as the way you care for yourself. Picture arriving home at the end of your trip – lighter than when you left! Imagine how good it will feel knowing travel can support your higher goals for your life, not sabotage you and deplete your morale.


Find other ways besides food to “treat” yourself during your trip. Get a massage or manicure, see a show, buy a cute outfit, or a nice souvenir to commemorate your self-care during your trip. Say really nice, supportive things to yourself during this little self-care moment.


Tell people in advance that your plan is to stay on-program. Enlist the help of the people you’re travelling with so they can support your efforts. If they get upset, try having compassion for how awful it used to be to be so addicted to carbs that you needed others to indulge alongside you so you didn’t have to feel bad about yourself. That’s all that’s happening in those cases, usually.


Wherever you go, there you are… Every single one of our clients has something coming up. A trip, a convention, a family get-together, a birthday or holiday. There will never be a time when you don’t have something right around the corner that will challenge your resolve to stay on plan. Even when you’re done with Phases 1-3 and you’re in maintenance, you’ll need to make healthy (lower-carb) choices more often than not (80/20 rule), or you’ll soon be right back to your starting weight. Try thinking of your vacation, trip or event as a chance to practice making food choices that are about the Big Picture of your life’s goals, instead of the small picture of that particular event.


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