IBS Travel Kit
Preparation is key when travelling on any healthy lifestyle regimen, especially when you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Convenience stores and rest stop restaurants provide limited option for those on a low FODMAP diet, and many portable prepackaged goods contain ingredients that are not safe for those with IBS. Therefore, use the following tips to help create your very own IBS travel kit for your next adventure.
Foods and Snacks
When you travel, it will be important to have non-perishable goods on hand, and if you are able, to also have a cooler or insulated bag for a few perishable foods. Some safe portable and non-perishable foods include:
- Granola or trail mix: Granola like Casa de Sante’s low FODMAP granola. When buying a granola or trail mix product, just be sure to avoid ingredients like honey, garlic powder, onion powder, cashews, pistachios, agave, high fructose corn syrup, or any dried fruit that contains sulfites, since this preservative can cause digestive distress in some individuals with IBS. Mixed peel citrus fruits are one type of dried fruit that is low FODMAP in a liberal serving according to Monash University. However, be sure to limit raisins to one tablespoon and avoid dried mango and other fruits not considered low FODMAP safe such as apples, apricots, or peaches.
- Nuts and seeds: For a portable protein, always keep some nuts and seeds on hand. Peanuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and walnuts are some safe choices that can be found in many convenience stores in case you are purchasing your snacks on the road. Safe serving sizes include 32 peanuts, 10 walnut halves, two tablespoons pumpkin seeds, and 2 tablespoons hulled sunflower seeds.
- Protein Bars: Find protein bars that are low FODMAP safe such as those by Stellar Labs. Avoid ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, milk protein, whey protein, honey, inulin, sugar alcohols, cashews, pistachios, or soybean and pea-based protein products.
- Fresh fruit: Choose portable fruit options such as unripe bananas, clementines, oranges, or diced pineapple. You can also get freeze-dried fruits such as strawberries that can be a healthy non-perishable fruit option.
- Cheese: Cheddar, Colby-style, and mozzarella cheese sticks or cubes can be great protein-rich snack options that you can keep in your cooler. Up to 2 ounces of these cheeses are safe on the low FODMAP diet.
When it comes to quenching your thirst, stick to low-calorie beverages that do not contain carbonation, high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols, or concentrates of high FODMAP fruits such as mango, apple, peach, or pear. Stick to water, sugar-free lemonade, unsweetened green tea, and digestive aids such as LemonAID.
If you do intentionally or unintentionally eat an unsafe food and experience digestive discomfort, be sure to have treatments on hand. One great product for on-the-go is Heather’s Tummy Fiber™ Organic Acacia Travel Packets. These packets contain 100% acacia senegal that dissolve in most liquids and moist foods to provide a prebiotic effect that helps to relive IBS symptoms. Also, Heather’s Tummy Tamers™ peppermint oil capsules which can help relieve IBS abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, urgency, and gas. Ginger and peppermint tummydrops® are also great portable solutions for helping to relieve any nausea or digestive discomfort that can be caused by IBS.
Take Home Message
Be prepared with your safe snacks, drinks, and treatment solutions on your next trip to prevent IBS symptoms from putting a damper on your adventure. Therefore, make a list, stick up your cooler and travel bag, and bring a low FODMAP food list so that wherever you go, you can stay safe on your low FODMAP eating plan.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.