The question I get asked most about the FODMAP Diet is "How do I cook with no onion or garlic?" (answer's right here!)
The second most asked question is, "What about eating at restaurants?"
I have to agree, it can seem like a dilemma. And even though eating out is challenging, you can make it work.
> One hugely important side note: Going to restaurants is soooo different after you've learned your FODMAP triggers.
Just think how hard it is to avoid ALL the oligos (wheat, onions, garlic, beans, etc.) at a Mexican restaurant. If you learn that your body can tolerate moderate amounts of onion and garlic, suddenly you're like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz:
Your food options just went from black and white to technicolor.
But even if you’re just starting and eliminating as many high-FODMAP foods as possible, you can still go to restaurants and enjoy more than a bowl of lettuce.
That's exactly what this episode of Calm Belly TV is about (Don't want to miss future episodes of CBTV, my weekly live show on Facebook? "Like" the Calm Belly Kitchen page and set your notifications to ON!).
What can you order at a Mexican restaurant on the low-FODMAP diet?
Below, you can read a quick summary of good menu options, but if you want to learn more about why these are your best bets and how to approach restaurant menus in general, I highly recommend watching the video!
Like this? Check out the other posts in my Eating Out Series:
How to Eat Out on FODMAP: Mexican Restaurants
In the video and in this summary, I start off with the best options if you’re eliminating as many high-FODMAP foods as possible, then I progress to options you’ll have when you learn your personal IBS triggers and have more flexibility in your food choices.
Order anything with corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas - They’re low-FODMAP and gluten-free
Example: Quesadilla with cheese and/or chicken
Avocado - Ask for sliced avocado in place of guacamole (about 20g is a low-FODMAP serving)
Salsa - If they have pico de gallo, which is a fresh tomato salsa with onion, you can ask for plain chopped tomatoes and even cilantro on the side
- Like tortillas, plain corn chips are a great choice
- Order nachos without beans (add chicken or other meat) and get chopped tomatoes and sliced avocado with it
- Ask how they make it; it may have onions or not
- It’s likely made with sofrito or adobo which are seasoning pastes with onion, but that will be a very small amount
- Does the restaurant have a kids menu? That might include plain rice...or just ask
Most cheeses are low in lactose, which means low-FODMAP
- Typically queso fresco has zero grams of sugar so it’s lactose free or virtually lactose free
- Hard cheeses like monterey jack and cheddar which are often used together in Mexican dishes are also typically low-FODMAP
- Chile con queso (cheese dip) is usually just cheese and chiles, so ask about ingredients, but this could be a good appetizer option to share
- Even if it’s not on the menu, they’re likely used to people who want to eat healthy/low-carb
- Get lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, bell peppers, tortilla chips, chicken, shrimp, or steak; use oil and lime juice as your dressing
Flautas (or taquitos) - Fried corn tortillas filled with shredded meat; fried foods are okay in moderation AND if you keep your overall amount of food moderate - Eating large quantities in general, low-FODMAP or not, is one of the biggest causeses of symptoms
Fish Tacos - Get grilled fish if possible; but even if it’s breaded with white flour that’s okay because a small amount of wheat is okay on the low-FODMAP diet
Slow-Cooked and Marinated Meats
- Carnitas, Barbacoa, Cochinita Pibil are all slow cooked with aromatics like onions
- Carnitas are your best bet because the meat is slow cooked in fat rather than water (FODMAPs are not soluble in fat) and the aromatics are removed
- Smoked or roasted meats are great choices because they’re not cooked in a liquid
- Fajita meat like chicken and steak are likely seasoned or marinated, but they’re cooked to order so ask for unseasoned meat
Tamales - Depending on the filling, these are a good option
Want to make fabulous low-FODMAP Mexican food at home?
Check these recipes on Calm Belly Kitchen: