How To Eat At Restaurants On The Low FODMAP Diet
If you are someone who has struggled your entire life with poor digestion symptoms, ranging from gas, constipation, and diarrhea to nausea that leaves you without an appetite and severe bloat, then you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not researching the low FODMAP diet. FODMAP is an acronym that stands for several compounds found in foods. Some major ones include fructose, fructans, polyols and lactose. Foods high in FODMAPs tend to irritate symptoms in those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders. While the low FODMAP diet is not very limiting, it can be difficult to remember. It’s not as simple as eliminating an entire food group but rather particular items. Here is how to order off a restaurant menu on the low FODMAP diet.
Sauces to avoid
Onions and garlic are off limits, even in small quantities, on the low FODMAP diet. Many tomato sauces and salad dressings will contain these irritating foods. Since many sauces tend to contain garlic and onion salt, if not whole versions of the food, it’s best to stay away from them or ask for the ingredients list.
Sauces you can have
If you have a burger, barbecue sauce and mayonnaise are safe. When it’s time for sushi, wasabi and fish sauce are good-to-go. As for pasta, pesto is safe.
Beware of ground beef
Items that use ground beef like burgers and meatballs are often made with breadcrumbs, and the low FODMAP diet discourages gluten.
How to get your beef fix
Any cut of steak is safe. In fact, most meats are fine so long as they haven’t been processed. Again, just make sure they do not season your food with garlic or onion salt.
Burritos aren’t always your friend
While black beans contain plenty of fiber and can help with constipation, they are unfortunately high in FODMAPs. In fact, most beans are off-limits on this diet.
Try street tacos
If you are craving Mexican food, your best bet is street tacos. Corn flour is allowed on the low FODMAP diet, so go with corn tortillas and simply fill them with grilled meat, shredded cheese and salsa (without onion).
Skip the artichoke appetizer
While a grilled artichoke is easy to share with the table, this vegetable will cause all of your uncomfortable symptoms to flare up.
Try the Brussel sprouts
If you are looking for a low FODMAP veggie appetizer for the table, try the crispy Brussel sprouts. These are allowed on the diet and are just as delicious (if not more delicious) than artichoke.
Watch for fruit in your salad
Salad is usually easy on most guts, but a lot of restaurants are dressing their salads up with dried cranberries, peach slices, figs, pomegranate seeds and pears, all of which—unfortunately—are high in FODMAPs.
Keep salad simple
You can have about as much lettuce of your choosing on the low FODMAP diet. Try a simple salad with romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and cherry tomatoes. Douse it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, both of which are allowed on the diet.
Bagels and cream cheese will make you cry
Bagels are loaded with gluten, which is quite restricted on the low FODMAP diet, and cream cheese is one of the types of cheese you cannot have on this diet.
For your bread and cheese fix
You can have rice bread on the low FODMAP diet, and you can top it with cottage cheese and blueberry jam for a breakfast treat. Of course, you can choose most jams made from fruit allowed on the low FODMAP diet, so long as they don’t contain too much sugar.
Watch the seasonal vegetables
If you want to order the seasonal vegetables as your side dish, check what those vegetables are. Many chain restaurants serve some combination of cauliflower, snap peas, asparagus and/or mushrooms, all of which are forbidden on the low FODMAP diet.
Try this for your veggie side
Most restaurants have spinach and broccoli on hand, both of which are allowed on the diet. If you’re at a restaurant with a larger selection, you may be able to get collard greens, eggplant or bok choy.
No ballpark franks, sorry
Hot dogs, sausages, and any processed meats are strictly off-limits. This may seem like it will ruin summer barbecue season, but it doesn’t have to.
Put this in a (gluten-free) bun
Try adding slow-cooked pulled pork to your bun or a very clean, unprocessed turkey dog. Stick to mustard for flavoring. Regular pickles are off-limits, but gherkins are safe.
I know–it’s a tragedy. But creamy, flavorful guacamole is a no-go on the low FODMAP diet. This is especially true for restaurant guacamole which often contains garlic and onion salt, as well as raw onions.
You can still have a creamy dip in your hummus. Chickpeas are allowed on the low FODMAP diet. You should skip the pita chips and opt for carrot and celery sticks, or even grab the tortilla chips you would have had with your hummus.
Choosing your liquors
More than one glass of wine and any amount of rum is off-limits on the low FODMAP diet. So skip the pina coladas, daiquiris, and the wine carafe to share.
Clear liquor is usually your safest bet if you’re going to have several cocktails, but the best way to obey the low FODMAP diet is to drink only one or two drinks in a sitting.