Low FODMAP travel… need I say more? Each type holds its own challenges, from ultralight bakcpacking, through family visits, to globe-trotting in style. However, regardless of the amount of jerky and bland salad it entails, those of us with perpetual wind in their hair do find a way. A while ago I wrote about the tricks I use to tackle backpacking; this time, I’ll tell you all about how I handled eating during my 9-day low FODMAP camping trip in Southern California.

First and foremost: I’m super lazy when it comes to eating on vacation. That means no gourmet meals, no frequent shopping trips and definitely no lugging  around of heavy food! Quick and simple does it, and I don’t mind eating the same dish over and over again – you know that person at work who brings the same lunch every day for a month? That’s me. Having said that, when enjoying an active vacation, I also try to maintain a balance between keeping the meals low FODMAP, indulgent and relatively healthy. As a side effect, not all of the meals are fully compliant with the diet; I will clearly mark those below. The number of meals per day varies, from two-three when I mainly drive, to five when I work out a lot and needed the calories. Finally, for this trip, none of the food could require refrigeration. I was willing to take my chances with yogurt kept in the car for a few hours, or from evening till morning if the night was cold, but that was about it.

Very Important Disclaimer: I’m a little worried that the monotony of my meals might scare and depress some of you. Please understand, I really, really am as low maintenance as it gets when food is concerned. For normal folks who care about what they eat and/or want to take along some serious kitchenware, my menu should be viewed as a low FODMAP camping survival option in case their car gets stolen, bears/angry locals ravage their campsite and they need to make do with whatever is available at local grocery stores. At the end of the page, I list some alternatives; feel free to offer suggestions in the comments section!



1. A LIST OF GEAR I had available – I was spending two nights on an isolated island with a hike-in campground, so a lot of it is backpacking-compliant:

  • backpacking stove (one of those 3 oz ones)
  • 1 pot with lid and 1 skillet – both lightweight and 6-7 inches in diameter
  • cup
  • plate
  • Swiss army knife with can opener
  • spork
  • silicon spatula
  • cafetiere (because coffee is the most important food group)
  • Tupperware containers

2. I started out with the following FOODS:

  • corn thins
  • about 1 lb of hard cheese
  • 2 boxes of Kind granola bars, 6 bars each: Maple Pumpkin Seed and Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate (both have a little honey – high FODMAP – but the amount was not enough to make me sick)
  • enough dehydrated veggies to make 7-8 meals (I did not use it all)
  • rice noodles, the kind you only need to soak for 5 minutes once the water has boiled – I bought mine at Ranch 99
  • 1 bar of dark chocolate with chilli and cherries (cherries are high FODMAP and you definitely need portion control with chocolate – something I epically suck at)
  • 4 cans of tuna in water
  • 1 can of herring in oil
  • 1 can of Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup – contains wheat and cream (fructans and lactose) but I thought I’d risk it, living on the edge and all
  • 1 bottle of olive oil (8 oz)
  • tomatoes, bananas, strawberries
  • plain baby oats, the kind that only takes 5 minutes to make
  • hemp protein powder
  • 1/2 cup of walnuts
  • 1/3 cup of dried cranberries – not recommended on the low FODMAP diet due to high fructose content, but some people can get away with a few at a time; others, like me, simply don’t care
  • salt and pepper

During the trip, I also made two little GROCERY RUNS where I stocked up on more granola bars, rice cakes, hard cheese, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, cucumbers and bought some ham, almond milk, granola and yogurt for same-day consumption. Finally, I ate out while driving.

3. SCHEDULE: D1 – driving to the Point Mugu beach campground; D2 – at Point Mugu; D3 – travelling to Channel Islands; D4 – at Channel Islands; D5 – travelling to San Clemente State Beach; D6-8 – at San Clemente State Beach; D9 – driving back to the Bay Area.



4. MENU:

Day 1:

Breakfast was at home so it doesn’t count.

Lunch – Gobbler burger at The Natural Cafe in San Luis Obispo, no bun and no onions, I took my chances with the Thousand Islands dressing but you could swap it out for mustard and mayo. The burger came with corn chips – score on the carbs front! It was delicious.

Dinner – dehydrated veggie mix with rice noodles and tuna; a lovely family camping nearby invited me to share their dinner after I helped them out with a fly-away tent, so I also feasted on some barbecued corn. Felt very American. Dessert consisted of a granola bar, tea and a gorgeous sunset.

Day 2:

Breakfast – corn thins with cheese and tomato, coffee, granola bar

Snack – chocolate and strawberries

Lunch – corn thins and canned herring

Dinner – dehydrated veggie mix with rice noodles and the remaining herring. Erm… don’t knock it till you’ve tried it, preferably when you’re starving? Or replace the herring with peanuts/parma ham/dry cured salame?

After-dinner drinks on the beach: vodka with coke (I made some friends at the campground)

Day 3:

Breakfast – corn thins with cheese and tomato, granola bar, chocolate, coffee

Snack – Cliff bar and coffee (bought on board of the boat taking me to the Santa Cruz Island) – Cliff bars are not entirely FODMAP friendly, but I can typically have one and be able to cope with the symptoms

Lunch – corn thins with cheese, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups… yeah I was having a healthy eating day…

Dinner – cream of chicken soup with rice noodles, granola bar



Day 4:

Breakfast – oatmeal with protein powder, walnuts and cranberries; I forgot sugar!, coffee

Snack – chocolate. Surfing at Channel Islands is above my pay grade and the conditions were flat anyway, but I did a good amount of snorkeling – see the kelp beds in the photo above – and the ocean was frigid so I needed the energy to survive. I do recommend the snorkeling, it was brilliant!

Lunch – corn thins, cheese, granola bar

Dinner – dehydrated veggies with rice noodles and tuna. I was getting sick of dehydrated veggies by that point.

Day 5:

Breakfast – oatmeal with protein powder, walnuts and cranberries, coffee

Snack – the remaining walnuts and cranberries, not a good idea – too much fructose?

Lunch – Cliff bar, can of tuna (I ran out of options on the island…)

Dinner – turkey and lettuce sandwich on whole wheat bread (high FODMAP), blueberry Greek yogurt.

The sandwich, potentially in combination with fructose from the cranberries I had in the morning and lactose from the yogurt, was a bit too much from the FODMAP point of view but it was all I could find at the gas station store – I was rushing to make it to my next campground before dark and knew I had to drive through LA. Unsurprisingly, I did not make it. Fun fact: setting up camp in the headlights of your car makes it deviously easy to pitch your tent in an anthill.



Day 6 (I went grocery shopping at 7 am, mostly because I ran out of corn thins):

Breakfast – low FODMAP maple pecan granolawith almond milk, strawberry Greek yogurt, orange, coffee

Snack – granola bar

Lunch – rice cakes with roast beef, hard cheese, tomato, lemon yogurt, banana

Snack – granola bar, orange

Dinner – Trader Joe’s Honey Glazed Miso Salmon on Salad Greens – totally not low FODMAP and I regretted it! Don’t recommend.

Day 7:

Breakfast – eggs scrambled with cheese and tomatoes, rice cakes, blueberry Greek yogurt

Snack – granola bar

Lunch – rice cakes with cheese and tomato

Snack – iced tea at the Lavender Lounge Tea Company; delicious!, orange

Dinner – salad of cucumber and tuna drenched in olive oil, rice cakes, granola bar



Day 8:

Breakfast – eggs scrambled with cheese and tomato, granola bar

Snack – granola bar

Lunch – rice cakes, cheese, tomato

Snack – orange

Dinner – egg fried rice noodles with rehydrated veggies and tuna, granola bar, tea

Day 9:

Breakfast – rice cakes with cheese and tomato, coffee

Lunch – sushi and banana

After this, I was in the Bay Area – where I still mostly ate rice cakes with cheese because I really am that lazy  – but there was also sushi ad libitum!



Now, I’m not saying the above menu could not be made more diverse, even with the limited gear I brought with me. Off the top of my head – you could easily boil eggs, buy some greens and olives and make a salad with tuna, cucumbers and tomatoes. Gluten-free bread can be a good replacement for my beloved rice cakes and to add some variety to my cheese and tomato, you can take along peanut butter, jam or canned meats. The eternal granola bars can be swapped for fruit, nuts and gluten-free/low FODMAP baked goods, either home-made or bought. In fact, I initially planned to make a loaf of this divine bread but since I was moving out of my apartment just before the trip, I had no kitchen left in which to bake it. If you’re willing to make more grocery runs, you can also eat more yogurt (lactose-free if you’re lucky enough to stay near a well stocked store), meat/fish and fresh veggies. However, given the minimal effort I put into thinking about food (and isn’t this what we low FODMAPpers all secretly dream of), as well as the fact that I managed to stay well fed and keep the symptoms manageable, I’d say this trip was a huge success.

Potential next installment in the epic low FODMAP summer series: six weeks in rural Poland, with very limited grocery options and even less will to cook. I’m on vacation, after all. Stay tuned!


  1. Theresa says:

    KIND bars, oh how I miss those. On top of having honey, they also have chicory root/inulin, which is a big trigger for me. Glad to hear you were still able to eat them.

    • odrowaz says:

      Hi Theresa,

      Thanks for the comment – indeed all the regular Kind bars have inulin and I know exactly what you mean (why does it have to be in all granola bars?!) – but the ones I was eating on this trip are a new line and don’t have it. I was so happy when I found them, inulin makes me really sick! The bars come in a bunch of really cool flavors, I found them in Whole Foods but I bet all big grocery stores will carry them. I think the line is called Healthy Grains. :)



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