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
- Pick a restaurant with a varied menu. This will increase the options of finding safe foods.
- 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.
- Check out the menu beforehand. Most restaurants have websites and the menu is available online. Find out what options would be safe for you.
- 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.
- 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.
- Ask for substitutions. e.g. exchange couscous with rice.
- If in doubt always ask if there are any high FODMAP ingredients. Better safe than sorry.
- Choose your drinks wisely. Limit intake of alcohol and caffeine as these are irritants to the gut.
- 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.
- 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.
- Relax and enjoy your meal!
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