Tips on Eating out with IBS

Eating out when on a low FODMAP diet can prove quite a challenging and stressful experience. As you probably know from experience, most items on a menu will contain high FODMAP ingredients. Onions and garlic are usually the most common hidden culprits.

Tips on eating out on the low FODMAP diet

  1. Pick a restaurant with a varied menu. This will increase the options of finding safe foods.
  2. Choose a restaurant that offers gluten-free options. This will open up more options such as pasta dishes. If you live in the UK become a member of Coeliac UK. Once you join (membership costs £20/year) you will be able to access their venue guide which locates restaurants offering GF options in your area making life a bit easier. They have recently also launched an app so you can find GF restaurants when you’re out and about.
  3. Check out the menu beforehand. Most restaurants have websites and the menu is available online. Find out what options would be safe for you.
  4. Call the restaurant in advance. Ask if certain dishes could be altered to suit your needs such as omitting onion and garlic. One day heads up is usually sufficient.
  5. Choose safe options; these usually include: grilled meats, fish, rice, potatoes, salads with low FODMAP ingredients, eggs, omelette with low FODMAP toppings, sorbet or low FODMAP fruits for dessert.
  6. Ask for substitutions. e.g. exchange couscous with rice.
  7. If in doubt always ask if there are any high FODMAP ingredients. Better safe than sorry.
  8. Choose your drinks wisely. Limit intake of alcohol and caffeine as these are irritants to the gut.
  9. Know your triggers! High fibre and high fat meals tend to be common IBS triggers. You can try and identify your triggers by keeping a food and symptom diary.
  10. Know which foods might contain hidden high FODMAP ingredients. Example soups and dressing often contain onion and garlic. Sauces such as ketchup and BBQ sauce can be a source of garlic, onions and fructose. If possible check the labels or ask your waiter/ess.
  11. Relax and enjoy your meal!

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