Road trips can be a challenge for anyone following a healthy lifestyle. However, it can be even more difficult for those on a low FODMAP eating plan since many foods eaten in restaurants and convenience shops do not have ingredient info listed. Therefore, use the following tips to help make it easier for you to eat out safely on your low FODMAP regimen when you are on the road. Shop our low FODMAP on the go options to make sure you are ready for your trip!
To ensure that you are avoiding any unnecessary and potentially unsafe additives and preservatives, stick to fresh food options such as fresh veggies and fruit such as (listed with Monash-certified low FODMAP servings):
- ½ cup cantaloupe or honeydew melon
- 1 medium (7-inch) unripe (greenish) banana
- 1/3 medium ripe banana
- 1 cup chopped pineapple
- 20 blueberries
- ½ cup servings of bell pepper, bean sprouts, eggplant, or zucchini
- 1 cup kale, broccoli, chopped collard greens, or cabbage
- Liberal amounts of clementines, strawberries, carrots, grapes, lettuce greens, squash, tomato, or radish.
Ask before eating
Since some proteins that you may eat out on the road are marinated in seasonings such as garlic powder and onion powder, it is always important to ask before eating. The same goes for vegetables since some may be sautéed or glazed in high FODMAP ingredients such as honey, garlic, or onion. Also, avoid fried foods or high fat foods since such foods may irritate the gut of someone with irritable bowel syndrome.
If possible, access an ingredient or allergen statement online for the restaurant you are thinking about eating at. This information will be able to ensure that you do not consume any high FODMAP ingredients.
Stay simple with seasonings
Stick with spices that are in their natural form versus spice mixes, since spice mixes may contain garlic and onion powder. Also, avoid any prepackaged sauces from restaurants since many of them contain garlic and onion powder as flavoring and/or high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener. Safe seasoning and condiment options that you can commonly find at road trip restaurants include:
- Parmesan cheese
- Yellow mustard
- Tabasco® sauce (original)
Limit spicy seasoning or sauces if you find that these types of food irritate your gut.
Other road trip tips
Besides preparing for food choices on the road, here are some tips for staying low FODMAP safe on your next trip:
- Have a recovery kit with items to help soothe your digestive system in case you do experience symptoms. Such items include digestive soothing drinks, ginger and peppermint drops, and peppermint tea.
- Pack safe snacks in the car in case you get hungry before reaching a restaurant or store where you can purchase a safe meal or snack. Examples of safe snacks include peanuts, cheese sticks, oranges, clementines, or sunflower seeds. Get a more comprehensive list of safe foods here.
- Know where to go to the bathroom if you need to. Map out your course to your destination and know where certain restaurants, rest stops, gas stations, and convenience stores are in case you must stop for food, refreshment, or to use the restroom.
- Stay hydrated. It is important to keep plenty of water with you, so you can stay hydrated. Since constipation itself is related to dehydration in the colon, it is important to drink plenty of fluid. Limit your intake of caffeine and alcohol on the road since these types of drinks may cause gut irritation for some people.
- Get some exercise on the way. Make sure to stop every few hours to get up and walk around to help not only stretch your legs, but to keep your digestive system stimulated. This movement can help prevent constipation and release any gas and related bloating.
Next time you go to the store before the big road trip, take our free, printable Low FODMAP shopping list to shop with ease!
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.