The ability to cook for yourself is one of the advantages of campervan travel. It allows you to save money on food and camp away from civilisation. Furthermore, for people with certain food allergies and intolerances, it takes away the nightmare that is finding suitable sustenance whilst on holiday.
There’s no denying, however, that cooking in a campervan is a chore. Space, both for storing groceries and preparing meals, is limited. The obvious solution is to resort to canned meals and packet pastas, but for people like myself, for whom FODMAPs are bitter foes, that isn’t an option.
For all you normies reading this: FODMAPs stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols, which are types of sugar that some people can’t digest. Long story short, I can’t eat onion without experiencing excruciating stomach cramps and – here’s the thing – food manufacturers put onion in almost EVERYTHING.
So, on my recent New Zealand campervan trip, I had to find a way to cook low FODMAP meals with limited ingredients, in a limited space and with limited utensils. Here’s a list of what I bought for my first night:
- Canned chicken (plain – none of the flavoured ones are suitable)
- Canned chopped tomatoes in juice (again, plain)
- Baby spinach leaves
- Low FODMAP stock powder
- Low FODMAP pasta (in New Zealand, the Buon Appetito gluten free pasta is the cheapest)
- Garlic-infused olive oil
My cooking method was simple: whilst the pasta was boiling on one hob, I used the other to warm up the tin of tomatoes, to which I added the spinach and chicken. I then stirred through a couple of teaspoons of stock powder and a couple of glugs of garlic-infused oil. With a bit of cheese on top, this made a perfectly nice dinner.
To be honest, most of my meals were variations on this theme. My fiancé made risotto a few times. Risotto’s great for cooking in a campervan, as you only have to use one pot. To make a simple, low FODMAP risotto, you need:
- Low FODMAP stock
- Spinach or green beans or capsicum or whatever
- Whatever else you want that’s low FODMAP
Cook the rice in the stock then add cheese and stir through your other stuff. We like to add sunflower seeds, because they’re a cheap and healthy way to bulk up meals, and add an interesting texture.
If you have any questions about campervan cooking, New Zealand groceries or surviving on a low FODMAP diet, feel free to leave a comment below.
Article by Abigail Simpson, author of Poms Away: A British Immigrant’s View of New Zealand