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How to Eat on the Road if You Have IBS

Whether you’re taking a day trip or a long holiday, if you have IBS, you have to do your homework before you leave. The following list provides tips for keeping your tummy happy while you travel.

  • Make sure everyone’s on the same page. If they don’t know already, let your travelling companions know that you have special considerations to keep in mind when travelling.

    If you’re visiting family or friends, send them an e-mail with your safe food list and let them know that you’ll be bringing some food with you and doing some of your own grocery shopping after you get there and may need to do some of your own cooking.

  • Scope out your destinations for grocery stores and health food stores that carry the foods you need. You want to stock up on soluble-fiber staples after you reach your destination. If you’re headed somewhere that may not have the ingredients you need, take them with you.

    For example, coconut flour may be hard to get in the middle of nowhere, so if you anticipate needing it, pack some up in a heavy-duty zipper bag that can withstand travel.

  • Prepack food in to-go portions. You can easily find snack-sized plastic bags and containers so that you always have munchies on hand regardless of your vacation activities.

    For quick, safe on-the-go meals, throw a cooked chicken leg into a baggie and head out. It comes with its own stick, and you can hold it with the baggie to keep your fingers clean. Other protein sources you can easily store in baggies are thick slices of meat (so they don’t fall apart), lamb or pork chops, and even a chicken breast.

    Just be sure to keep them cold if you’re going to be out for a while before eating them. Freezing them beforehand and popping them in your bag before you leave will keep them cool for a few hours. By the time you’re ready to eat, your food will be thawed.

  • Make the best of rest stop offerings. Nothing is worse than being on a long drive without a prepacked meal and knowing that the convenient restaurants at the travel plazas are fast-food nightmares. You should take food with you when you travel.

    If you stop to use the restroom and want to grab a cool drink, remember that the safest thing to buy is water. And you can put a drop of peppermint essential oil in the water to soothe your travel worn intestines.

  • Stick to your routine as much as possible. Try to stay on schedule with your meals and bathroom breaks. If you see a rest stop, use it. This strategy will ease your mind and stomach in the long run. If you know that your bowels typically like to empty themselves three times before you leave the house in the morning, make sure you honor this when you’re on the road.

    You may get up earlier than your travelling companions (the same as you do at home) to relieve yourself. If you take off after only two bowel movements, you may set up a problem later. If you’re traveling with IBS-C, visiting rest stops along the way gives you a chance to stretch your legs, and maybe your colon will get the message!

  • Take charge of your own meals. Although it may be more work, you can be assured you have the right meals if you make them yourself. Your host may appreciate the help, and you’ll know exactly what you’re eating. However, keep in mind that some folks are pretty territorial about their kitchens; be sure to verify with your host in advance that it’s okay for you to do your own cooking.

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