Instead of a fortnightly favourites post, I thought I would talk today about some strategies that can be helpful when you’re eating out on the low FODMAP diet. It used to be something I found so difficult (and at times, it still is), to the point where I would avoid eating out because I knew how bad it would make me feel afterwards, and how much of an inconvenience it would be. However, since adopting these strategies it’s made the whole deal a little easier. If you have more that haven’t been mentioned here, comment below!
Always be prepared
I have found downloading or looking up a restaurant’s menu ahead of time to be a total life saver. This way you can more easily identify if there’s going to be viable options for your meal. If you’re unsure, you can always phone or email the restaurant to let them know about your dietary restrictions and they can give you some advice on what items would be safe for you to have.
If your anything like me, your friends and family always have a hard time deciding where to eat anyway. So what better way of ensuring you’re going to go stomach ache free than suggesting a restaurant yourself? I know I am personally collecting a bit of a list of my favourite places that have low FODMAP options on the menu, or cuisines that I found a lot easier on my gut (Vietnamese is the first that comes to mind). I use this is an opportunity to suggest the place to eat, which often leads to a much easier night for you!
Don’t be afraid
Don’t be scared to ask the wait staff if modifications are possible. You aren’t being picky because you don’t like these foods – there is medical reasoning behind it. I have found most places are so understanding and are more than happy to talk to the chef about making some modifications to my meal. I even had a chef the other night that made me something that wasn’t on the menu, to make both his and my life easier. And if you go to a restaurant where the staff are rude and inconsiderate of your dietary requirements (keep in mind this is different to a polite ‘I’m sorry but we can’t do that’), then you know not to go back there.
I also asked some of our members of the Low FOD Squad on Facebook for their opinions, and here’s what they had to say:
Grace says: “I normally opt for lighter cuisines such as Japanese or Vietnamese, a bit lighter on the tummy, and of course get GF/DF/vegan options.”
Marielle says: “I look up the restaurant beforehand. If I don’t have time for that I look at the menu and then speak to the waiter. My strategy that I have found useful is to say that I have many allergies and intolerances, but the big ones are garlic, onion, soy, gluten and milk. I then ask for some meat with salt and pepper with a green salad, tomato, cucumber and cooked or baked potato or rice. No sauce.”
Tayah says: “My biggest problem was always eating ALL of my meal… restaurant/café portion sizes are normally quite large, especially for us girls with IBS. So what I have learned and what I do now is eat what is half on my plate (half my meal), and then ask for a takeaway container and have it the next day as my lunch or dinner!”
Such fantastic ideas girls! Thanks for your contributions – I hope it makes eating out on the low FODMAP diet a little easier for everyone out there who’s struggling!