Smooth Travels: Don’t Let Constipation Hinder Your Trip

Petaluma food pic

Traveling not only opens doors to new experiences and cultures, but also offers you the pleasure of trying new foods that you’ve probably never tasted before. You should take some time to enjoy the new foods and flavors that are at your destination. Quite often the  wonderful food will be a major highlight of your trip. However, as you may unfortunately already know, dining out daily while traveling can lead to a variety digestive issues, including constipation.

Why does this happen?  Many restaurant meals can be lacking in dietary fiber, which we need to keep things moving along in the intestinal tract. Think about it. How often are you served fiber-rich foods when you travel, such as whole grain breads, vegetables, fresh fruit, nuts and beans? Probably seldom. Often the breads and other grains served abroad (and in the U.S.) are refined, meaning they have had the fiber removed. And the vegetables served with a meal are very sparse. It can be much easier to consume foods with fiber at home.

Paris 2 produce stand


Becoming constipated when you travel can put  a damper on your trip.When you travel you want to feel good so you can enjoy your time exploring your new surroundings. You don’t want to be troubled with constipation. So making an effort to get adequate fiber should be at the top of your list. According to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, fiber recommendations are 25 grams per day for woman and 35 grams per day for men. If you have been plagued by intestinal issues in the past when traveling, or want to avoid a potential problem, check out these tips.

Amsterdam grilled veg sw

4 Tips to Help Avoid Constipation While Traveling

1. Bring along some high fiber bars for your trip.  KIND and Kashi bars are smart choices. Bring enough to have two per day, if you need it. If you find that the breakfast options where you are traveling are low in fiber, add a bar to your breakfast. They also come in handy for a mid-afternoon snack. Look for bars that contain at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. These are great

2. When you dine out, ask for whole grain bread. Have a salad and/or a serving of vegetables at lunch and dinner. Order high fiber soups, such as Lentil or Minestrone. Try something new like a veggie burger or a grilled vegetable sandwich. Craving pasta? Think Pasta Primavera with extra veggies. And ask for whole wheat pasta–they might have it! For dessert, request a dish of fresh fruit.

3. Make an effort to drink fluids. Aim for at least 8 cups per day. Be eco-conscious and bring your own water bottle from home. Drinking helps keep you hydrated and helps the fiber move through your intestine. Inadequate fluid can lead to constipation.

4. Plan ahead and do an Internet search for farmers’ markets where you will be traveling. Plan a trip to the market and purchase fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts to keep in your room for snacks. If your destination does not have a marketplace, visit the local grocery store and stock up on produce, nuts and whole grain cereals.

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is an award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who is passionate about helping people improve their health with optimal nutrition. She received the 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year from the New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Lisa is an entrepreneur, speaker, private practitioner, and writer. She consults with food startups and restaurants to help put health on the menu. Lisa is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice she specializes in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her two degrees in Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and virtually. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.

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