Low FODMAP Eating While Camping
For many, summertime means vacation, weekend getaways, and the great outdoors. Relaxing and stress-free right? For those with IBS, it can sometimes feel like the opposite.
When we aren’t at home in our own kitchens, IBS management can feel tricky. If you are in the middle of the FODMAP elimination phase of your IBS journey, it can be especially nerve-wracking to plan a weekend camping trip that won’t interrupt your progress with eliminating FODMAPs. We review some key things to plan for when taking your low FODMAP diet to the campsite.
Develop an action plan
When planning an entire trip of low FODMAP meals and snacks, you will be as successful as the plan you make for yourself. If you buy random ingredients without a clear idea of what those ingredients will become, it’s likely you’ll be frustrated! We write to-do lists and stay organized in our work lives, so why not do the same thing when it comes to meal planning?
Create a meal schedule
Start by writing down your “main meals” that will require the most planning and preparation. When identifying recipes for the campsite, try searching for one-pot meals or grill recipes. These work great for a small stovetop or an open fire. Then move on to smaller meals like lunches. Will you have leftovers from the night before? Will you have several small snacks instead of a meal? Will you be away from the campsite? These are all things to consider when creating your meal schedule.
From the meal schedule you’ve created, identify what you will need to buy. You will likely already have some of the basics such as spices, cooking oils, and dry goods. Take some time to scan your cupboards before heading to the grocery store.
Don’t forget snacks! Pick up some low FODMAP snacks that are convenient and enjoyable – some great examples are popcorn, carrot sticks, roasted chickpeas, rice cakes with peanut butter, oranges, dark chocolate, and gluten-free crackers. You can find other snack ideas here and here.
Make your life on the road easier by preparing a few things at home. Try pre-mixing sauces and marinades in mason jars or cutting up fruits and vegetables for snacks.
Your emergency IBS Kit
When doing any sort of traveling, it is always a good idea to pack your IBS essentials. Although you may not need these things, it is comforting to know that they are there if you have a flare-up in your symptoms. Consider packing things you use to manage IBS like probiotics, bulking agents, anti-diarrheal medications, or remedies such as encapsulated peppermint oil.
It is also recommended that you maintain a fairly normal routine while vacationing. If you always eat breakfast, continue to eat breakfast. If you take a probiotic each morning, continue to do so.
Traditional camping foods
When we think of camping, we often have fond memories associated with foods that are cooked over an open fire. However, some of our favorite campfire foods may not be FODMAP-free. Below is a list of common camp foods to be mindful of when you have IBS.
Many marshmallows contain high FODMAP sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, honey, or sugar alcohols. Choose a ‘natural’ marshmallow or ones are sweetened with cane sugar or other low FODMAP sugar options.
Processed meats like hot dogs often contain high FODMAP ingredients like onion and garlic. Try to choose ones that don’t have onion and garlic in them (it can be a bit tricky to find) – or watch your overall portion of these foods to minimize FODMAP intake.
These camping classics have the potential to be high in FODMAPs. Many graham crackers, even the gluten free ones, contain high FODMAP ingredients, like wheat or honey. At our campsite, we make ‘banana boats’ instead – wrapping bananas (make sure they’re yellow without spots) in tin foil and topping with chocolate chips (up to 15 grams of milk chocolate is considered low FODMAP), and marshmallows. You can also make your own graham crackers as well!
Keep mindfulness in mind!
The low FODMAP diet isn’t all or nothing – if you do consume FODMAP’s, take note of how you feel, and make space for still enjoying your vacation! The purpose of the low FODMAP diet is to reduce your overall FODMAP intake, so it is likely that small exposures will not trigger symptoms. Worrying about FODMAP’s on your holiday is often enough to trigger symptoms – so don’t forget to practice stress management techniques, and most of all, have fun!
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