10 March 2016
If you are lucky enough to go on holidays or perhaps have been travelling for work, you have no doubt encountered some difficulties with following your low FODMAP diet. Understanding your own level of sensitivity to different FODMAP foods can be helpful, so you’ll find it easier to travel when you have been on a low FODMAP diet for some time, having undertaken challenges and tolerance testing and determined your individual level of restriction. Ideally you will know your worst triggers and which FODMAP foods you can get away with in small amounts on occasion.
When travelling on a relatively short flight, it may be best to eat well before you fly and then you can fuel up again once you land. But of course, that’s not always possible. I find taking some packaged nuts with you on a short flight or trip, which are both nutritious and filling, will keep you from feeling hungry. This may include mixed nuts, peanuts, or macadamia nuts.
If, however, you are on a long flight, some extra pre-planning may be in order. Contact your airline and see what sort of requests you can make. You may have asked for a gluten free meal before in an attempt to get a suitable meal – this can often be a big mistake, particularly on a plane when they will serve you an omelette with onion in it, plus an apple and a glass of juice. Sometimes you are better off with wheat, rather than what is served as ‘gluten-free’. Instead, ask the airline to make a note of your most troublesome foods, e.g. apples, garlic, and onion, and ask for these to be excluded from your meal.
Something to keep in mind - airline food is well-balanced, and although there may be many other foods that you prefer to avoid, they do not tend to serve large amounts of one food. Therefore, the amount of some high FODMAP foods provided may be low FODMAP. For example, there may only be 2 or 3 florets of broccoli, 2 slices of beetroot, and minimal amounts of butternut pumpkin – all of which are still low FODMAP.
Wherever you are travelling and whatever mode of transport you use, the Monash University low FODMAP app will be your best friend. This is definitely the case when travelling to a country where the traditional cuisine is different to where you live. And remember, the app is expanding and has many international foods being added to it on a regular basis.
While travelling you may want to visit local markets and buy fresh produce to cook your own meals, so that you can then manage your FODMAP intake more effectively. This is particularly helpful if you book self-contained accommodation or something with a small kitchenette.
If you use any additional therapeutic strategies whether it is herbal remedies or medications to manage your symptoms, besides making changes to your diet, make sure you have an adequate supply with you. Remember to pack these in your carry-on luggage (not in your suitcase) when flying.
If you have any other tips or suggestions that you would like to share with us and all our followers, we would love to hear about them.
Travel safe and enjoy!