FODMAP Diet FAQs Part 1: Tips for Eating at Restaurants

FODMAP Diet FAQs Part 1: Tips for Eating at Restaurants

Get the facts about the low FODMAP diet. I'll answer 2 of the most frequently asked questions I get: "How can I eat in restaurants and will one dinner out ruin the elimination phase?" And, "Should I be eating a No-FODMAP or a Low-FODMAP diet?" Click through to read the answers to these key questions or watch the video I made with even more info!

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Trying to find information about the low FODMAP diet is frustrating, and you're not alone. Do a search and the results are pretty sparse. Not only that, but you might find outdated food lists or conflicting info.

To cleanse the confusion, I'm creating a series of 3 blog posts to answer the questions I get asked most often about the FODMAP diet. Each post will include a video, as well as the key points so you can either watch or read...whatever works for you!

In Part One, I'll be answering the following FAQs:

  • How do I eat at restaurants on the low FODMAP diet?
  • Should I be eating no-FODMAP or low-FODMAP during the elimination phase?

I sent these videos to my email crew in the Calm Belly Kitchen newsletter (Click here to join now--it's like getting an extra blog post every Friday!) throughout the month of February. The response I got from the community was great, so it seemed silly to keep the videos hidden away on YouTube.

Here are the other parts of the FODMAP FAQ series:

Part Two: Easy Workday Lunches

Part Three: How Long Until I'm Symptom-Free?

FAQ #1: I get overwhelmed when I'm at a restaurant and end up ordering the worst thing on the menu. Does one bad meal ruin everything?

A: It's so hard not to slip up, especially when you're at a good restaurant. Please don't beat yourself up! It's not easy to completely change the way you eat and cook, even if it is for a short time. The important thing to remember is that you really only need to do strict elimination for a few weeks. When you can clearly see an improvement in your symptoms, you can start testing FODMAP foods.

The goal of the elimination is to prove that reducing FODMAPs actually helps you. It's true that testing foods can take a long time (and it's good to be as methodical as possible to get the most knowledge out of it). But if you go out to eat and slip up, you haven't ruined things. You just get back on track and keep going.

If you are planning to eat out, here are some strategies to make it easier:

  • Scout out menus online. Choose a restaurant that uses a lot of simple, fresh ingredients and features some dishes that seem easy to modify.
  • Don't hesitate to call ahead and ask questions.
  • Steakhouses are great because they'll give you a nice piece of meat and cook it exactly the way you want it. They often have simple side dishes too. The same goes for "seafood grill"-type restaurants. Sushi is another great option.
  • Consider chain restaurants. They often have procedures in place to help people with food sensitivites. Some chains that I've heard great things about are Red Robin, P.F. Chang's, Outback Steakhouse, and Maggiano's Little Italy.

FAQ #2: During the elimination phase, should I be FODMAP-free or low-FODMAP? If I am FODMAP-free, what do I eat?

A: It can be really confusing, but the short answer is that you should be eating low-FODMAP during the elimination phase.

Technically, it's nearly impossible to eat no FODMAPs at all. Many foods that are made up of carbohydrates will contain some FODMAPs. But if those foods are "green light" on the Monash app, the FODMAP content is low enough that they shouldn't cause digestive symptoms.

Plain proteins and fats do not contain any FODMAPs because no carbohydrates are present. So that was a quick little scientific explanation!

As long as you're following the recommended low-FODMAP serving sizes of the green light foods during elimination, you are doing great. 

Got a question that you think I should answer in a future FAQ video? I plan to do more, so leave a comment below.