5 Tips to Travel While on a Low FODMAP Diet

Published on: 08/10/2021

Traveling on a Low FODMAP Diet

Traveling is fun and exciting but it does disrupt our routine. You may be used to cooking all or most of your meals, and have a consistent exercise and stress-management routine.

Getting away from this routine and being exposed to outside variables such as hidden FODMAPs in restaurant meals, long car or airplane rides, and a lack of understanding by the general public about the low FODMAP diet can make people with IBS anxious about traveling or decide it’s not even worth it.

However, with some planning and preparation, it is certainly possible and can be enjoyable.

5 tips To Travel While on a Low FODMAP Diet:

Tip # 1 – Be relaxed about the rules

Ideally, you want to start the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet when you are at home and are cooking most of your meals. If you are about to go on vacation or on a trip, this may not be the ideal time.

If you already started the diet and feel much better (as most people do), it’s understandable to want to avoid uncomfortable gut symptoms while traveling.

In this case, following a more “relaxed” version of the low FODMAP diet can help. This means you don’t need to be 100%. You can allow yourself some leeway for the occasional food or meal that’s not low FODMAP and still maintain good symptom control.

Given the power of the mind, just taking out the stress and anxiety about finding enough low FODMAP options, and giving yourself permission to make mistakes can set you up for success and avoid gut symptoms.

Tip # 2 – Bring some tried-and-true snacks

This is especially important when you are on the road, and restaurant choices are very limited. Having some familiar snacks or mini-meals will make those trips. Some of my favorites are:

  • Make-your-own trail mix (using low-FODMAP nuts and dried fruit)
  • Peanut butter jelly sandwich
  • Instant oatmeal packets (plain)
  • Portable nut butter pouches and tuna packs
  • Low FODMAP crackers or pretzels
  • Low FODMAP-certified granola & protein bars (look for the Monash University or FODMAP Friendly logos)
  • Portable fruit (mandarins, oranges, greenish bananas, grapes)
  • Hard-boiled eggs, lactose-free yogurt, and string cheese (if you can carry a lunch bag with freezer packs)

Tip # 3 – Research local restaurants and grocery stores

To start with, do some online research before leaving and check out the menus of local restaurants. Call ahead to ask for potential substitutions. Read my blog post for more tips for eating out on a low-FODMAP diet. On an airplane, pre-order a “bland meal”. It is usually free from garlic, hot spices, sauces, and fried and fatty foods.

If your vacation plan allows for it, staying in a hotel with a kitchenette or a rental property can allow you to cook some of your meals at home.

Lastly, look for a grocery store in the area and inquire about the availability of some of your staples (such as gluten-free or sourdough bread, tomato sauce without garlic, gluten-free pasta, etc.).

Tip # 4 – Pack a survival kit

It can be comforting to know you have what it takes to manage a flare-up if it does happen. In fact, it may even make you a bit bolder about trying new foods and enjoying some local cuisine, especially if traveling abroad. Some helpful items are:

  • Peppermint oil capsules (enteric-coated) and/or peppermint tea bags
  • Ginger tea bags and ginger chews
  • A fiber supplement (ask your doctor or dietitian first)
  • An over-the-counter anti-diarrheal or gentle laxative

Tip # 5 – Manage your stress

Some people find that, when they are on vacation and are able to get away from work or home stress, their gut symptoms improve. This happens in spite of eating just about anything they want).

This points to the impact of stress on IBS symptoms. If your trip is packed with lots of sightseeing, early rising times (or staying up late at night), and frequent car or airplane rides, make sure to carve out some time each day to relax, and get some physical activity too.

With the availability of yoga and meditation apps you can use anywhere, it should be easy to find some calm even if only for short bouts of time. It can greatly reduce the chance of having an IBS flare and make your vacation more enjoyable!

If you are struggling with IBS and are confused about how to find relief from uncomfortable gut symptoms and figure out your trigger foods, reach out!

Let’s work together

Book a free IBS Clarity Call today!

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I’m a registered dietitian with a passion for helping women with IBS find their way back to eating without fear of painful gut symptoms and without unnecessary diet restrictions.

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