How to Eat Out on the FODMAP Diet: Italian Restaurants

You can eat out on the FODMAP diet whether you're in the elimination or reintroduction phase! It's possible to enjoy great meals and socialize with friends and family even when you have IBS. Click to watch videos walking you through real Italian restaurant menus for traditional Italian cuisine AND modern, creative Italian cooking. Learn how to go out without depriving yourself while keeping your belly happy.

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Eating out on the FODMAP diet is a challenge. You want to avoid a major belly blow up, but that can leave you with precious few options on a typical Italian menu, unless you know how to order. 

And that's exactly what I'll show today in fun video format!

Whether you end up at a classic red sauce place or a farm-to-table trattoria that specializes in Tuscan fare, you've probably run into these problems:

  • The menu doesn't go into enough detail
  • You just know there's onion and garlic in everything
  • You don't even know where to begin asking questions, so you play it safe with a Caprese salad and go home starving

Fortunately I've got the help you need because I don't want anything to come between you and a good meal, even on FODMAP.

How to Order Like a Pro

In the video below (from my weekly Wednesday Facebook Live broadcasts!), I walk you through the menu at Maggiano's Little Italy, an upscale chain in the U.S. They serve the kind of classic Italian-American dishes you'll find at countless Italian restaurants, so this applies no matter where you go.

You might be surprised to learn what some of your options actually are (flatbread pizza anyone?)

>>>But that's not all: I have two bonus videos for you on how I'd order at a non-traditional Italian restaurant--let's do this!

3 Keys to Smart Ordering

  • Ask for help and let the server be your ally. They can do more than you think, and are usually delighted to be your hero (I speak from years of restaurant work experience!)
  • Know the facts about what constitutes a low-FODMAP (not NO-FODMAP) diet. For example, it's okay to eat small portions of high-FODMAP foods like white bread.
  • Learn the basics of how common dishes are prepared (I'll help you with that right now!)

Of course, different restaurants won't always cook a dish the same way, and asking questions (and ordering what YOU are comfortable with) is the biggest key of all.

If you like this, check out the other posts in my Dining Out Series:

Chinese Restaurants

What to order at a traditional Italian restaurant

Bonus Videos

I've got two more bonus videos talking about what I'd actually order at one of my favorite Italian restaurants in Chicago. Their menu features more modern/creative Italian cooking, if that's more your style.

Video #1 is all about what I would have ordered when I was eating low-FODMAP (so, during the elimination and reintro phases). 

Video #2 reveals how I order now that I'm post-FODMAP diet. If you're wondering just how much easier/better/delicious life can be after you learn your trigger foods, this video shows you the difference!

Modern Creative Italian: My Low-FODMAP Order

Modern Creative Italian: My Post-FODMAP Diet Order

Eating Out Post-FODMAP

Learning your specific trigger foods (and the portion sizes of those triggers foods that you can tolerate) is the key to restaurant freedom. 

When you're not always avoiding every single FODMAP food, you don't have to feel like an alien creature with a bizarre, hard-to-explain diet. Check out my Health Coaching programs to bust out of food prison!

If you've been doing the elimination phase for a while, but want to learn more about how the reintro phase works, download my free Eat Your Way to Freedom Checklist:

To learn even more, click to read Top 5 Myths About Reintroducing FODMAPs!