Watching Your Diet While On The Road

Last updated: December 2021

The famous writer Gustave Flaubert once wrote: "Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." There are other ways to gain perspective of course: developing new hobbies or interests, enhancing friendships, taking on new responsibilities.

Still, travel is unique in the way it exposes one very quickly to a whole new range of experiences and sensations. Hence, the author of "Madame Bovary" seems to make a worthy point: a sense of perspective is perhaps best achieved by journeying outside familiar shores.

IBD diet on the road

As infinitely valuable as travel can be, particularly a road trip, since it offers one a lot of freedom and flexibility, IBD can quickly turn a pleasing vacation into a nightmare. Hence, watching your diet on a road trip is essential. Here are a few strategies I've used that may be helpful to others.

My tips for a road trip with IBD

Bring easy-to-digest snacks

Bring some of your favorite snacks. I like to bring snacks such as power bars, bananas, edamame, and muffins. This is very helpful on the open highway since frequently the only options are gas station convenience marts and road stop food courts.

Bring a cooler filled with favorite drinks

On the road, it may be difficult to find the beverages that work best for us. Hence, I keep a cooler with drinks such as cranberry juice, iced green tea, and a black cold brew for when I need energy (I rarely drink coffee, but if I do I avoid cream and sugar, both of which bother me).

When eating at restaurants order standard menu items

When you are at a Chinese restaurant, for example, don’t order something exotic like squid in black ink. Stick to typical menu items such as chicken with broccoli or shrimp lo mein, since the last thing you want is to get food poisoning or trigger your IBD when you might soon be driving through barren landscapes that lack bathrooms. Sure, on vacation everyone wants to be adventurous. But when you have Crohn’s or colitis, it just isn’t worth it.

Don't eat huge quantities

The more I eat, the more frequently I have to go to the bathroom. Also, when I eat smaller meals, I seem to digest them better. Hence, when on the road it seems best to limit portion size. Then, after I’ve stopped driving for the night and have found a hotel, I usually have my big meal for dinner.

Study the route beforehand for bathrooms

Before leaving, I like to see where the rest areas will be. I also look for Cracker Barrel restaurants, since they have great bathrooms. By getting a quick sense of my options beforehand, I am better prepared in the event of a bathroom emergency.

With Crohn's or colitis, be prepared

A road trip is a great way to clear your head and explore new territory while learning about yourself in the process. That said, with Crohn's or colitis, we need to be careful. To lower my risk of having problems I bring my favorite snacks from home, bring a cooler with my favorite drinks, stick to standard menu items, limit the amount I eat, and research restrooms on the route beforehand.

By following these protocols, it is much easier for me to enjoy the wonders of the open road. Thanks for reading, and, as always, feel free to comment below.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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