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7 Simple Low FODMAP Restaurant Tips

7 Simple Low FODMAP Restaurant Tips

Restaurant Tips if You're on a Low FODMAP Diet

If you’re on a low FODMAP diet, eating out can be tricky. You want to enjoy your food, but your choices are limited. And with IBS, SIBO, or a variety of other stomach issues, there’s always the potential of another embarrassing flare-up while you’re out in public.

Fortunately, eating out doesn’t have to be this big, scary task. Here are 7 low FODMAP restaurant tips so you can dine out with confidence:

What Makes Something Low FODMAP?

FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. If a food is low in fermented carbs, that makes it low FODMAP. These foods can help with gastrointestinal issues, especially if you have IBD or other gut problems. High FODMAP foods, on the other hand, are hard for your body to digest and can lead to stomach pain, bloating, or gas.   


What Kind of Foods Can You Eat on a Low FODMAP Diet?

What you put in your gut matters, especially on a low FODMAP diet. Types of foods to avoid on a low FODMAP diet include high-lactose dairy, processed sugar, legumes, and grains (such as wheat, barley, or rye). 

But it’s not all about restriction. There are plenty of foods you can eat on a low FODMAP diet, such as:

  • Protein: beef, chicken, eggs, or fish
  • Fruit: pineapples, raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries
  • Vegetables: celery,  spinach, tomato, and cucumber
  • Dairy: lactose-free milk, Greek yogurt, cheese, and parmesan cheese
  • Cooking oils: olive or avocado oil

Eating Out: 7 Low FODMAP Restaurant Tips

1. Check Out the Menu Beforehand 

When you’re looking for a low FODMAP restaurant, planning ahead of time is one of the best ways to ease your stress and calm your nerves. Scope out the restaurant’s menu beforehand to see if they offer low FODMAP options that fit with your diet. A lot of restaurants may be able to offer substitutions for different items on the menu.

If you have specific questions after looking over the menu, call the restaurant (during non-peak hours between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.) to see if perhaps they can modify their menu to fit your dietary requirements. 

Already at the restaurant and forgot to call ahead? Don’t sweat it. Just simply ask your server about ingredients in dishes you might be interested in and see if they can make any changes. Also, don’t forget to mention your food allergies!

2. Stick With Made-To-Order Dishes 

If you can help it, find low FODMAP restaurants where orders are made from scratch. When your food is made from scratch, it’s easier to customize for your low FODMAP needs. Any restaurant that has an option for “choosing your own ingredients” is a good choice (think pizza, sandwiches, hamburgers, or salads). 

3. Be Mindful of Sauces, Dressings, and Condiments

Garlic and onion are two staple ingredients in most sauces, dressings, or condiments. Unfortunately, they’re both high on the FODMAP scale.

Restaurants might not always list garlic or onions in their ingredient list, so be on the lookout for phrases like “seasoned to perfection,” which may mean the dish contains garlic or onion.

Another way to limit the sauces is to simply ask for them on the side so you can control how much of them you eat. 

4. Opt for Gluten-Free Menu Options

Looking over the low FODMAP restaurant options but don’t know what to get? By ordering gluten-free, you can cross off a huge source of high FODMAP trigger foods.  Gluten-free products don’t have wheat, rye, barley (which are high in fructan). Be mindful of the fact that gluten-free doesn’t always equal low FODMAP. 

5. Center Your Meals on Protein

Research shows that protein is more filling than fats or carbs, so go with protein-based meals (poultry, beef, fish) when you can. Throw in a side of rice or rice noodles—some FODMAP-friendly veggies—and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded meal. 

6. Don’t Be Shy About Sending Your Order Back

If your order comes out wrong, don’t be afraid to send it back. Explain that eating the dish could make you sick and politely ask for your order to be remade. As long as you remain courteous, your server shouldn’t have any problem with your request. 

7. Eat Low FODMAP at Your Other Meals

Eating low FODMAP throughout the day gives you a safety net for when you dine out and slip-ups happen.

It could be a miscommunication with your sever, or maybe you order something you think is low FODMAP but turns out it isn’t. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you might not always end up with the most FODMAP-friendly meal. 

Things happen and it’s not the end of the world, so try not to freak out! Just be sure to make note of what the FODMAP food was and how your body reacted. Then, simply get back on track with your next meal. 

Low FODMAP-Friendly Restaurants

If you can find a low FODMAP restaurant or two, it can make sticking with your diet a lot easier. 

Here’s a list of low FODMAP food ideas at some of your favorite restaurants:

Starbucks

Reach for black coffee or espresso on a low FODMAP diet. If you’re looking for a meal or snack, try their classic oatmeal, egg white and red pepper egg bite, or strawberry and toasted almonds overnight grains.

“Make Your Own Pizza” (Such as Blaze or Mod)

The cheat code of a low FODMAP diet—when you can build your own and choose the ingredients. A good option here would be gluten-free pizza crust, olive oil, cheese, and veggies that are low FODMAP (such as red bell peppers or tomatoes).

Chipotle

Another fast food restaurant that lets you build your own meal to fit your dietary needs. A good order at Chipotle could look like this: Burrito bowl or corn tortillas, rice, carnitas, tomatoes (not pico de gallo), cheese, lettuce, and a side order of tortilla chips. 

Red Robin

For the classic American hamburger, go for a patty without seasoning on a gluten-free bun and supplement with a side of fries (again, without seasoning to cut down on the garlic and onion).

Cheesecake Factory

What kind of list would this be without a low FODMAP option for dessert? Try Cheesecake Factory’s strawberry bowl with whipped cream topping. Just make sure you’re following your FODMAP diet serving sizes.

Ingredients for foods are always changing, so just make sure you’re checking and asking questions before ordering anything.


Enjoy Eating Out on a Low FODMAP Diet

Whether you’re dining in, doing takeout, or just stopping in the drive-through of your favorite fast food place, you can enjoy eating out on a low FODMAP diet. Plan ahead, go gluten-free, and eat low FODMAP throughout the day just in case your meal at the restaurant doesn’t end up too FODMAP-friendly.

Your checklist guide for low FODMAP eating out ✅

  • Scope out the menu ahead of time and call the restaurant with any specific questions
  • Choose made-to-order dishes or dishes that let you pick your own ingredients
  • Be careful with sauces, dressings, and condiments (many contain garlic or onion, which aren’t low FODMAP)
  • Go gluten-free and eliminate a big source of FODMAP trigger foods
  • Opt for protein-based meals—they’ll be more filling
  • Politely send your order back if it comes out wrong
  • Give yourself a little cushion and eat low FODMAP at your other meals

References:

FODMAP Diet

Low FODMAP Diet for IBS

 

Author Byline: Chad Richardson is a freelance writer from Cincinnati, OH. When he’s behind his computer, you can find Chad at the gym doing his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation, or out at a game rooting on his hometown teams.

About the Author

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