There are few nicer things in life that dining out with family and friends. Many IBS sufferers avoid eating outside of their own home due to their condition however if a few precautions are taken, dining out on a Low FODMAP diet can still be a regular, pleasant experience.
Options for restaurants with a Low FODMAP menu are limited to say the least. This is partly due to the fact that what each individual can eat depends on their own individual symptoms and there particular stage within the diet. That being the case, it is important to be well prepared and confident in asking for exactly what it is you require or must avoid in your meal. Part of being a restauranteur requires that you reasonably handle special requests, particularly dietary requests. So, do not be afraid to ask or question how the meal is or has been prepared.
Call the restaurant in advance whenever possible. This reduces the stressful situation of having guests at the table sit through the discussion with the waiter and also reduces the stress on the waiter to arrange something on the fly with the kitchen. Meals in restaurants are often pre-pared, at least in part, so this will not only mean that there are only certain changes the kitchen can actually make at this stage and it also significantly limits your options in terms of what meals would be appropriate for your needs. Some pre-warning often means that the chef can spend a little more time to prepare and meet your requirements and more often than not, restaurants appreciate the forewarning and will be cooperative. If they are not for any reason, you then have the option to take your business elsewhere.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have spontaneously entered a restaurant for a meal, do you best to choose a restaurant that offers ‘simpler’ ingredients meals. For example, avoid Indian or Asian menus that often have prepared sauces as part of their meal choices. Seek out meat, poultry, seafood or vegetarian dishes without added sauces where possible. Also where possible, try not to enter a restaurant on a completely empty stomach. When we are very hungry, our decisions are often ruled by our stomachs.
Hope for the best but expect the worst
When out of home, it is best to always have an option to fall back on to ensure you are not left with nothing to eat. Carry with you any Low FODMAP snacks that you have available to ensure that you have something always on hand for the ‘worst case’ scenario.