Eating out on a low FODMAP diet - a quick guide

Eating out can feel stressful when you’re at the start of a low FODMAP diet journey. Here's our top tips to make it easier

Eating out can be stressful when you’re at the start of a low FODMAP diet journey. Remember that it will feel easier once you’re more familiar with which foods are high and low in FODMAPs.  

It can be helpful to avoid eating out for the first one to two weeks of your low FODMAP trial. This will give you a chance to get used to this new way of eating and get some practice with identifying low FODMAP food options.

Once you’re ready to eat out (or you know you will need to) you can use the strategies outlined below to help you enjoy meals outside the home.    

Choose the restaurant if you can:  

Picking a restaurant that has a good selection of gluten free dishes will give you a head start, as gluten free grains are also low in FODMAPs.

Thai and Chinese restaurants usually have lots of rice-based dishes. Steak houses offer meat, fish, chicken potato and salads that are easy to adapt. Many Italian restaurants offer gluten free pasta and pizza options.  

Plan your options before you get there:  

Most restaurants now post their menus online, so you can download their menu and see what options are suitable before you go.

If you are still unsure, give them a call and see how they can help.  

Eat a snack before you go:  

Arriving at dinner hungry means you’re more likely to dive into whatever is on the table, which might not be low FODMAP.

A small snack can help - a piece of fruit and a few nuts or a slice of gluten free toast and peanut butter can help take the edge of hunger.  

Ask for adjustments:   

Speak to your waiter about your dietary requirements and NO-GO foods like onion and garlic. Ask for dips, sauces and dressings on the side.    

Don’t be discouraged if you experience a flare up:   

Don’t be discouraged if you slip up or end up with symptoms despite trying to avoid FODMAPs. Sometimes despite all your attempts, there may be some FODMAPs you weren't expecting in your meal.

There are also many factors outside of FODMAPs that can lead to symptoms. Stress, anxiety, larger portions than normal, alcohol and fatty foods can also be triggers. Return to eating low FODMAP eating, and your symptoms should settle within a day or two.