Eating Out At A Restaurant When You Suffer From IBS Can Be Challenging
IBS sufferers often fear eating out at restaurants with friends and family, I know I did. The reason being, that we have to be on a very particular diet, which doesn’t allow us to enjoy eating out what we want and where we’d like, as much as other people do. In addition to that there is the constant worry of having to visit the ‘public’ restrooms several times, during and after the meal, especially if you suffer from IBS-D, which can be embarrassing.
The diligence in diet intake is necessary, especially if like me, you are trying to limit the IBS symptoms, by following a Low FODMAP diet plan. But, although difficult, it is also not right to avoid social situations like this forever and become completely shut in.
The low FODMAP diet is unfortunately not yet known to the majority of restaurant owners and staff, unlike the gluten-free or the lactose free diet, which food options can be found in several restaurants, therefore it is up to us to adapt food on the menu so that it becomes FODMAPs friendly.
I hope that the following tips may improve your eating out experience, by also keeping your IBS symptoms in mind.
The Low-Fodmap 28-Day Plan: A Healthy Cookbook with Gut-Friendly Recipes for Ibs Relief
Eating Out Tips:
- When I was new to the low FODMAP diet, the first thing my dietitian suggested me to do, was to download the Low FODMAP app from Monash University for iPhones, and for Androids phones, which gives a good comprehensive list of food that has been tested for FODMAPs content. It’s a great help when you eat out or even when you go food shopping.
- If you have the opportunity to pick the restaurant, look into places that have a good variety of healthy food and also cater for food allergies (like gluten-free, lactose free etc.), you will be more likely to find something that agrees with your food intolerance.
- Find out the name of the restaurant in advance, so that you can browse the menu online and learn about the dishes offered and their ingredients, if they are acceptable according to the diet. Alternatively you can always call the restaurant to discuss the possibility of slightly changing one of their dishes, to make it IBS friendly (no need to go into details about IBS if you don’t want to, just say you have food intolerance).
- If you are worried about finding suitable food at a specific restaurant, don’t go to dinner starving, try to have a small meal at home before you leave, so that you don’t get too tempted to eat the wrong food.
- Convince your dinner party to dine out at non-peak times, when the restaurants are not packed. This will allow the staff to listen to you more carefully and accommodate your special instructions.
- You can use a little white lie when ordering your food. Telling your waiter about your “food allergies” will convince him to take note of your special needs carefully.
- You can use the same excuse if an acquaintance, who is not aware of your condition, asks about your peculiar dinner order.
- Be clear on your order and listen carefully, when the waiter repeats it back to you, just in case 😉
- If you’ve asked for a salad without onion and it comes with onion, you may be able to pick the onions out, but if it comes with unsuitable salad dressing when you asked no dressing or dressing on the side, you may have to politely ask to make you a new one. What I mean is, be adaptable when you can, but if you can’t, don’t eat unsuitable food because you are worried about sending it back.
- This has never happened to me, but I did read it in several forum posts, waiters may not take your intolerance seriously and may give you attitude about your meal, that is not acceptable and you can always ask to speak to the manager.
- Remember, large meals and fatty meals are not good for your IBS symptoms, be safe and order something you have successfully tried before, when possible.
- If you drink alcohol, be mindful on the quantities before it becomes high FODMAPs.
I hope that these tips may be helpful for all those IBS sufferers, who want to carry on socialising and of course enjoy dining out with their loved ones.
Until next time….take good care.