Managing IBS Outdoors

Camping Bites: Savour the Outdoors While Managing IBS

The Tummy Clinic | June 25th, 2022

Here’s how you can relish an easy and delicious food that is IBS friendly while enjoying the great outdoors

Outdoor camping is a favourite summertime activity for families, adventurers, and nature lovers. Relaxing amidst the mountains and woods, or beside beautiful lakes and oceans… sleeping under the stars – all makes for a soul-satisfying experience!

For those with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), camping might seem like a daunting challenge when it comes to food or even toileting. However, it is entirely possible to follow an easy and delicious low FODMAP diet and keep yourself regular even amidst camping adventures.

Here’s how you can go about it…

Start by planning your camping meals a few days in advance. Many foods can be cooked and prepped ahead of time such as overnight oats, chia puddings, breakfast cookies or chicken skewers with precut veggies ready to go on the grill or fire or how about some zucchini and vegetables fritters made ahead that just require you to heat up or even eat cold (using the Monash low FODMAP recipe). Or fill your coolers with low FODMAP items such as oats, peanut butter, vegetable spray, low FODMAP ketchup, yellow mustard, olive oil, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, tea bags, coffee, olives, pickles, nuts, and low FODMAP granola bars and cold cereal.

Most of these low FODMAP recipes can be prepared on a camp site with access to water, a campfire, and a cooler. A small grill or a simple propane stove will increase the possibilities.

Breakfast Bites

Oats provide a great fibre boost. Overnight oats can be prepared the night before you leave. Soak equal quantities of raw oats with milk and sweetener if desired, and store in the cooler. Your ready-to-eat jar of creamy ‘oatmeal’ is ready to eat in the morning. Top with nuts or nut butters of your choice.

Yogurt parfaits are another great choice. Make them by layering lactose-free yogurt with servings of low FODMAP berries, and granola.

Prepare pancakes from gluten-free mix in advance or at the campsite. Consider pouring the batter into a plastic bag and seal. When you’re ready to cook, just snip the corner edge. Don’t forget the real maple syrup and butter.

Also consider French toast prepared with low FODMAP bread, lactose-free milk, egg, and cinnamon. Hardboiled or scrambled eggs, small ripe bananas, cold cereal, breakfast sausages heated up in a skillet over the fire, make for other great breakfast dishes. Consider prepping your fruit beforehand to easily eat on the side— cantelope is great for this and under 3/4 cup is low FODMAP or even easier some precut oranges.

Lunch Munch

Dig into these easy and fab lunch ideas…

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with strawberry jam and low FODMAP bread. Single serving peanut butter packets are also easy to carry along.

Deli meat sandwiches are a great option, when made using deli meat that is free of garlic and onion. Use low FODMAP mayonnaise, brown or yellow mustard, cheese, and low FODMAP bread or simply use a large piece of prewashed lettuce to wrap around your meat, cheese, pickle, olive, cucumber, micro greens creation.

Chicken or tuna salad pair well with low FODMAP crackers or bread or on a piece of lettuce, while aged cheese, low FODMAP nuts and crackers, and a piece of fruit such as  oranges, honeydew, cantaloupe, or grapes, are also good options.

Also consider quinoa salad prepared in advance and chilled, cold pasta salad made with tomatoes, feta and dill with a low FODMAP salad dressing makes for another great meal.

Snack Attack

Don’t forget to carry along a few low FODMAP snack options for when hunger strikes while hiking or lounging by the lake. Low FODMAP granola bars and seed bars work well. As does a trail mix made from mixing Craisins or raisins with peanuts, pecans or walnuts; rice cakes and peanut butter; popcorn; or a small serving of banana chips.

Dinner Delights

For low FODMAP dinner options consider making your own grill packs using foil packets containing meats and low FODMAP vegetables of your choice. Pick from thin sliced potatoes, carrots, zucchini, green beans, and more, season with salt and pepper, wrapped in foil and cook over the fire.

Wrap white potatoes in foil, place in a hot spot in the fire till done. Eat topped with butter or extra virgin olive oil and a little sour cream if available, with some salt and pepper.

Layer shredded aged cheese between two tortillas with some prewashed kale, spinach and chard, wrap in foil, and cook on the campfire griddle till warm. Enjoy with salsa.

Stick food is always a rage at a campfire. Choose items that can be cooked on a stick, such as chicken sausages without garlic and onion or just simply chicken breast or thigh pieces, or a big kid favourite low FODMAP hotdogs.

Include unseasoned hamburgers, turkey, or low FODMAP veggie burgers for your onsite barbecue. Choose gluten-free hot dog and hamburger buns which are low FODMAP. Dot with low FODMAP ketchup and yellow mustard as desired.

Marinate meats like steak, chicken, pork loin, or fish seasoned with salt and pepper or low FODMAP spice blends. Store in a zip top bag and grill at camp.

You could also choose from a range of pre-packaged cooked meats – just make sure to avoid those containing garlic and onion.

Tofu dishes can be prepared in advance and can then be eaten cold or wrapped in foil to warm up.  Tempeh is great to throw in a premade quinoa with some shredded lettuce, carrots and red cabbage topped with a miso/ginger salad dressing.

Easy side dishes can include salt-sprinkled edamame, raw veggies like carrot sticks and cherry tomatoes, low FODMAP hummus, salads, brown or white minute rice, and cold cooked quinoa.

Sweet endings

What’s a campfire without s’mores! Make yours with marshmallows, chocolate and gluten free graham crackers.

Alternatively, try a banana boat made by slicing one small ripe banana down the middle, and filling it with peanut butter, chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, or strawberries. Then wrap in heavy duty aluminium foil and cook on the campfire grate till warm.

Down the hatch

Low FODMAP beverage camping options include lactose-free milk stored in the cooler, which is perfect for cold cereal as well as coffee and hot cocoa.  According to your taste and requirement, consider flavoured waters, and rehydration drinks to boost your electrolytes on a hot day filled with activity.

When ‘nature calls’… 

It’s important to be prepared for any bouts of IBS related diarrhoea or constipation.

Carry along your fibre supplements to ensure you are regular. Also consider adding chia seeds and flax seeds to oatmeal, hot cereal, or yogurt for a fibre boost.

Or have some peppermint tea or peppermint capsules to soothe your tummy.

Ensure you have plenty of fragrance free wipes to stay clean and comfortable.

On the chance of a porta-potty being unavailable, consider investing in a pop-up potty tent with snap on toilet lid for a bucket and potty bags. Convenient, hygienic and environmentally healthy too!

Let the camping begin!


Frequently Asked Questions

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is characterized by a variety of symptoms, including cramping, abdominal pain, bloating, gas, and diarrhea or constipation, or both. IBS is a chronic condition that you’ll need to manage long term. The cause is not well understood.

There is no definitive test to diagnose IBS. IBS is diagnosed after your doctor has reviewed your symptoms and occasionally ordered tests to rule out other conditions.

Visits at the Tummy Clinic are not covered by OHIP or your provincial health care system, however, most extended healthcare plans cover many aspects of the care you will receive here, such as visits to Naturopathic Doctors, Dietitians, Social Workers or Psychotherapists. Check your benefits package or contact your insurance company for more information.