Last week we introduced the theme of Nutrition Month 2015- Eating 9 to 5, which is all about eating healthy throughout the workday – no matter what hours you work or shift you’re on. We spend most of our waking hours at work, it’s a pretty scary thought, right? But when you think about it, it makes sense to appreciate how important it is to eat well and get food to fuel our energy throughout the day despite the chaos of the Monday to Friday routine.

We started our nutrition month blog series last week with some great grab and go breakfast ideas for those busy weekday mornings. A balanced breakfast is important to get your metabolism going, give you the energy you need to start your day, and keep you going throughout the morning. Lunch is just as important! The right lunch will help you maintain energy throughout the afternoon. Packing a homemade lunch is a great way to save money and ensure your lunch is digestive friendly. We have some great tips on packing a balanced lunch, some delicious low FODMAP lunch recipes and super cool tools for packing a litter less lunch. Just click on the links to read the articles.

In a perfect world we would all pack healthy lunches from home everyday; but let’s be honest, this takes a lot of time and planning. We all have those days or weeks or months when planning ahead just doesn’t seem possible. It’s easy to grab something quick from Tim Horton’s, Starbucks, Subway, McDonalds, whatever option is the closest and fastest. Being someone who suffers from digestive distress (if you haven’t heard, I was diagnosed with IBS in 2007), I know how hard it is to find something that’s digestive friendly on the run. And nothing ruins a productive afternoon like a terrible stomach ache and gas or bloating. So what can you do?

For those with IBS who might be struggling with the Low FODMAP diet, I know it can be complicated and confusing. If you want to follow this diet successfully to better manage digestive symptoms, you need a plan. Grab this free guide:

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Tips for Eating Out with IBS

There are two keys here: do your research and don’t be afraid to ask. To prepare for those busy days, look at the restaurant websites, read the ingredients and get creative with substitutions. The team and I have done some of the hard work and researched options – below is a great list of some common food chains and the digestive friendly options they offer. So the only thing you have to do is ask! Don’t be afraid to for substitutions, most restaurants are happy to help modify a meal to meet your needs! Although a sit-down restaurant with a chef in the back may be more likely to substitute garlic and onions, these quick restaurants will be a compromise and may still have ingredients that upset your digestive system. The list below is the BEST choice you can make when eating out.

 

Low FODMAP Fast Food Guide

Restaurant

Low FODMAP Options

Wendy’s  ·Baked potato (2 tbsp sour cream might be ok, depending on your tolerance to lactose)·Garden salad with pomegranate vinaigrette dressing

·BBQ ranch chicken salad (hold the corn and ask for a pack of balsamic vinaigrette dressing instead)

Tim Horton’s  ·Homestyle oatmeal (plain, berry, or maple flavours)
Swiss Chalet  ·Quarter chicken and side salad (hold Chalet sauce, the small bun might be ok depending on your tolerance of wheat)
Second Cup  ·Almond or lactose-free milk

·Gluten-free biscotti

·Gluten-free coconut chocolate macaroons

·Gluten-free nature bars

Starbucks   ·Lactose-free milk

·Gluten-free KIND granola bars

·Lucy’s cookies, gluten-free and dairy-free

McDonald’s  ·Scrambled eggs & hash brown (although not gluten-free, there is no added wheat in the hash brown)

·Tuscan salad with grilled chicken

My Thai Restaurant (Southern Ontario but applicable at other Thai restaurants)

 

·Fresh spring rolls

·Pad Thai will gluten-free tamarind sauce

·Ginger chicken: ginger, carrots broccoli, green onions with a side of rice (hold the cauliflower and mushroom)

·Thai fried rice

 

Pizza 

·Gluten Free Pizza crust

·Low FODMAP toppings: bell peppers (red or green), pineapple, olives, eggplant, zucchini, chicken, bacon or ham

(Toppings to Avoid: pepperoni, mushrooms, onions)

·Low FODMAP cheese: cheddar, feta or mozzarella (If lactose is a trigger for you, go light on the cheese, avoid the cheese, and/or ask for a dairy-free cheese alternative if available)

New York Fries ·Gluten-free fries (dedicated fryer)
Cultures  ·Pacific rice bowl: brown rice, chicken breast, tuna, tomatoes, black olives, cucumbers, fresh basil (Trade in the red onion for shredded carrots)

·California rice bowl: brown rice, chicken breast, eggs, tomatoes, carrots (Trade in the avocado for zucchini, eggplant, or other vegetables)

** Not all options are 100% Low FODMAP, but represent your best possible choices when eating out to try an minimize symptoms.

Ready-Prepared Low FODMAP Grocery Store Options

One of my favourite things to do when I’m stuck without a lunch is popping over to a nearby grocery store or Farmer’s Market and picking up a couple of low FODMAP ingredients to create my own meal. Some of my favourite things to grab are:

  • Low FODMAP crackers or some fresh gluten-free bread
  • Fresh fruit like berries, banana, pineapple, or an orange
  • Carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes
  • Roasted nuts
  • Babybel or Balderson single portion cheeses
  • Sliced roasted turkey or chicken
  • Pre-made salad

With pre-made salads, check the ingredients list on the dressing to see if you can find one without garlic or onions. Then you can pick out high FODMAP ingredients like onions and mushrooms, and add some protein like chicken from the hot counter or lactose-free cottage cheese or nuts. Add a side of low FODMAP fruit to make a balanced meal.

Eating out doesn’t have to leave you feeling awful. Just remember to do your research and never be afraid to ask! The restaurant industry is much more accommodating these days than it has been in the past and most chefs are happy to make changes to accommodate your needs.

 

Wishing you good gut health & wellness,

Stephanie and The Team