Airports, train stations, bus stations and any other kind of transport hub in the UK and around the world, all suck at one thing.
Catering for those of us with IBS, who need fodmap friendly travel snacks.
When I first started travelling and living abroad, I often found myself absolutely bloody STARVING in between flights, in a crazy limbo land of ‘what day/time is it?’ Usually, I hadn’t eaten on the flight, as they’re not usually great at catering fodmap friendly and for IBS-C/D (but I have a few tips for you, on how to not starve on planes in the next few posts.)
In these airports ( or sometimes in strange mosquito filled bus service stations, in the middle of Vietnam) my food options were limited to sandwiches of sorts, noodles, fodmap filled potato snacks or sugary ( shit tasting ) chocolate bars. So yeah, my unprepared self usually chose to just fast for the duration instead. I would have rather felt a bit hungry (ok, starving) than have to endure my IBS symptoms whilst mid-journey.
See what I went through, just for you, fodmap travel fam!
Luckily for you all, now I know, exactly how to deal with being on long journeys or day trips without dying from starvation or crippling tummy pain.
The art of fodmap friendly travel snacking
When it comes to feeding myself on trips, the requirements are simple; low fodmap, low starch carbohydrates ( they literally don’t move in my stomach if travelling- apart from rice flour) and light aka no rich sauces or meats.
They also needed to; not smell – no boiled eggs, chillis and obviously no onion! Be easy to fit in hand luggage, be allowed on flights ( usually no sprouting seeds/some meats but check each individual countries restrictions before you leave) not melt, and not be too messy. It may seem a lot to consider, but it makes sense when you’re trying to eat your very melted, low fodmap (ish) chocolate protein bar.
Travel Snack Trial & Error
I started off trying a few things, especially when I lived in Asia. One of my first snacking prep attempts was a street food omelette. They don’t smell, can be made plain and are a good hit of protein. That worked. However, in Asia, they tend to package everything in plastic bags. After a few hours, my sweaty omelette didn’t seem so appetising. I recommend making your own the night before, which I started doing, and allowing it to cool in the fridge before packing it in foil and a mini lunch box or Tupperware box.
Another Asia spesh ( they’re the best for snacks!) that you can also make at home, are fresh spring rolls. Made from rice flour, they seem to slip down your digestive tract, without that horrible feeling of the food just sitting there when you’re sat for ages.You can buy them all over Vietnam, or they’re easy to make at home, lot’s of supermarkets now sell the full kits. The same goes for plain rice noodles too.
It took a lot of trial and error after these initial attempts, to work out what to actually pack in the UK to take with me on long journeys. These ‘attempts’ resulted in; walnut and banana induced IBS-C, peanut butter chicken kebab fails ( too messy!) and pineapple and melon juice spillages…eww, sticky everything. Oh and not to forget the homemade chilli I thought was the best idea ever, only to have it confiscated at customs for having too much liquid- FFS.
I think, I’ve pretty much got it nailed now, thank the Lord, because fasting in ‘lay-over limbo’ is not fun.
This is what I prepped for my most recent trip back home to Spain from the UK.
The food was enough for brekkie at the airport and a refuel whilst in the car journey from Malaga airport to Tarifa.
- Roast Vegetables: Parsnips, Carrots, Red Peppers, Butternut Squash ( low fodmap portion) chopped into chunky wedge sizes, roasted in mixed herbs and seasoning then left to cool. Then I packed them up in a small recyclable plastic tub and popped it in a grease proof food carrier. I sometimes just leave them in foil and then bag them up.
- A low fodmap portion ( check your Monash app ) of nuts including walnuts, peanuts and hazelnuts.
- A nearly ripe banana ( you can wrap this in foil and put in a lunch box or food bag)
- Cured meat like mortadella, Parma ham, Jamon serrano or other cured ham rolls with lettuce and homemade mayo. Make sure it is cured though, because nobody wants food poisoning on the journey, either!
For this trip, I didn’t need anything else, but I usually pop in an orange or some blueberries.
All this food kept my tummy happy and fed, with no IBS symptoms, until I arrived home safe and sound. They are also inexpensive and cheap.
You’re probably like, ‘ermmm gal, you do realise I actually have a life and am more concerned about how many shoes to pack than prepping snacks right? If that’s you, I’ve put together an extensive snack list just to make your packing situation, a little less stressful. It includes treats too, ‘cos I know you’re on holiday after all 😉
I would love to hear if you have found any other snacks that are easy to travel with and fodmap friendly? Pop them in my Low Fodmap Travel and Gut Health Facebook group and comment below with your suggestions.
Don’t forget to like the Low Fodmap Travel Facebook page & head over to my Instagram for on the go support. Never miss a post or update by signing up to my mailing list for regular fodmap travel tips, including; places to eat, tummy safe destinations and ‘no details spared’ insights into life on the road with IBS.
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