Written by Lisa Kunstler, FodShop Nutritionist and Group Fitness Instructor
The Key to Dining Out on the Low FODMAP Diet
With International Friendship Day coming up this Saturday the 30th of July, the FodShop team thought it would be ideal to discuss the common anxieties surrounding eating out with IBS.
With symptoms of bloating, flatulence, diarrhoea and more associated with common high FODMAP triggers, like onion and garlic, it can be overwhelming when entering the restaurant world. There are however, some tricks you can follow to avoid high FODMAP ingredients when eating out with friends and family!
Have you just started a low FODMAP diet and you're unsure where to start? Or are you a seasoned FODMAPPer interested to learn more? Here are some great tips for eating out to ensure that you can celebrate International Friendship Day right this weekend!
Tip #1 - Restaurant Prep
When eating out, it is always a good idea to prep the gut for the night ahead. Here are our top 5 tips for restaurant prep:
1. Stay hydrated
It's important to keep up your fluids during the day.
2. Check the menu ahead of time
Prepare yourself and familiarise yourself with the available options so you're not blindsided walking in.
3. Avoid FODMAP stacking during the day
Try to eat low FODMAP meals during the day so that, if you do accidentally eat FODMAPs out, the flare ups should be less intense. For more information on FODMAP stacking, check out the recent webinar recording by FodShop and the Diet vs Disease team.
4. Keep Up Your Fibre Intake
Keeping up your fibre intake during the day will help regulate stools (preventing constipation and diarrhoea) and decrease abdominal pain. (1) If you struggle to get fibre in throughout the day, a great option can be a daily fibre supplement, such as SunFibre or Regular Girl. A meta-analysis of 14 randomised control trials including over 900 IBS patients found fibre supplements to effectively improve IBS symptoms. (1)
5. Suggest a restaurant to suit your diet preferences
There's nothing wrong with choosing a restaurant that has more low FODMAP options. There are heaps of delicious choices to try from. Japanese is a particularly good one as there are heaps of low FODMAP options to try, like sushi!
Tip #2 - Choose a Cuisine
Here are some tips from Monash University on how to eat out on a low FODMAP diet with varying cuisines. (2, 3)
- Most vegetarian and seafood options are prepared fresh. Ask if they can be made fresh and low FODMAP to cater towards your dietary needs.
- Curry paste bases can be high in onion, shallots and other FODMAPs. Ask the restaurant ahead of time if there are any low FODMAP options available.
- Always check the sauces! Ask if the sauces include onion, garlic or artificial sweeteners (polyols), and if so, opt for low FODMAP sauces like soy or oyster.
- Try rice based dishes instead of noodles to avoid wheat.
- If spring onion is in the dish, ask for the green tops only as these are a good low FODMAP option.
- Many French dishes come with a sauce. Ask for garlic and onion free sauces and if not, a mustard. Ask for salads to be dressed with oil and vinegar only.
- Many salads are a good option. Ingredients to look out for and ask to be removed include: croutons, shallots, artichokes and onion/garlic in the dressing.
- Ask for gluten free pasta / pizza bases.
- Ask if tomato passata in pasta sauces and pizza bases is garlic and onion free. Many are made only with tomato and salt.
- For white bases, ask for without garlic if the dish is made to order as the chef can make the sauce from scratch.
- Choose harder cheeses. The harder the cheese, the lower the lactose content.
- Beware of risottos. Despite being a rice dish, they can be made with stock containing onion and garlic
- Avoid dips, moussaka, pistachio or honey-based desserts.
- Some classic Greek low FODMAP options to try include: saganaki, haloumi, olives, plain Greek yoghurt, chargrilled fish/scallops/seafood, mixed grills, chicken from the spit, or potatoes.
With all cuisines, avoid rich, highly flavoured or spicy meals and opt for more plain meats, rice or rice noodles and steamed vegetables or salads. (3)
Tip #3 - When All Else Fails
When all else fails or you just really want to eat that garlic bread, there's no need to fear! Try FODZYME, an enzyme blend that helps to break down complex FODMAPs like fructan, galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS) and lactose into more digestible, simple sugars.
These FODMAPs are found in foods such as...
- Cow's milk
- Creamy Cheeses
- Beans and Lentils
- Silken Tofu
- and more!
When the FODZYME enzymes break down FODMAPs into small sugars, they can be quickly absorbed by the gut. Simply sprinkle a 1/4 of a teaspoon on your meal, mix it in and indulge in your favourite flavours with confidence.
FODZYME is available in 10 sample test kits and 60 dose jars at your low FODMAP one stop shop, FodShop.
Enjoy Eating Out Again on a Low FODMAP Diet!
Eating out doesn't have to be a nightmare every time we leave the house. If you follow these helpful tips and tricks, you can say goodbye to the anxiety and stress surrounding a night out eating with friends. Happy International Friendship Day!
1. El-Salhy M, Ystad SO, Mazzawi T, Gundersen D. Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review). Int J Mol Med. 2017 Sep;40(3):607-613. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2017.3072. Epub 2017 Jul 19. PMID: 28731144; PMCID: PMC5548066.
2. Monashfodmap.com. 2022. Eating out on a low FODMAP diet – Italian, Chinese, French and Indian!. [online] Available at: <https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/eating-out-on-low-fodmap-diet-italian/> [Accessed 27 July 2022].
3. Monashfodmap.com. 2022. Eating out on a low FODMAP diet: Greek cuisine. [online] Available at: <https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/dining-out-on-low-fodmap-diet-greek/> [Accessed 27 July 2022].