Possibly one of the best parts of going out to eat is the fact that someone else is doing all the prep and the cleanup, am I right?! Now that patio season is upon us, we have yet another reason to skip preheating the oven and move meal time away from the kitchen table in favour of a cozy spot downtown. Trying new restaurants and exploring new menus can be a great way to experience different cuisines and add some variety and excitement to our plates, but sometimes the menu can make you feel like you’re reading a foreign language! Au gratin? Aioli? Charcuterie? What does it all mean? Add in any dietary restrictions, food intolerances or allergies, and you might be feeling a little overwhelmed, anxious, and limited in your menu options.
Healthy Choices While Eating Out
Stephanie made an appearance on The Social where she talked about how to navigate menus while eating out. She shared some great tips on how to be strategic with your menu picks to enjoy a meal that is both nutritious and delicious. You can watch her segment by clicking the image below.
Eating Out Low FODMAP
If you are familiar with the Low FODMAP Diet, you know that it can be a tricky one to follow, at least until you narrow down your specific trigger foods. Once you identify which foods irritate your gut, avoiding them will mean that you will be back to living your normal life.
Need some help figuring out your triggers? If you’re looking for support and more information to help you with the Low FODMAP diet, read more about the CLAIRITY Program. This is the best way to work with me in the program I offer to meet you where you are, provide you with credible, up-to-date advice and information to get you feeling better and get back to enjoying your life. I’d love to have you join us as a member.
Being confident in your menu lingo will help you successfully navigate your options and make a choice that will be both tasty and easy on your digestion. Here is a quick list of some unfamiliar menu items that you might want to steer clear of, and what to ask for instead when you’re trying to navigate a restaurant menu while living low FODMAP. Of course, it’s always best to ask your server to check with the kitchen if you are trying to avoid certain foods, especially things like onion and garlic which have a tendency to be hiding everywhere! You can only tell so much from the menu descriptions, and every chef has their own special way of preparing their signature dishes.
High FODMAP Menu Items
Gremolada – minced garlic, parsley and lemon rind.
Alternative: This is often used as a garnish, so if the rest of the dish is FODMAP friendly you can just ask for it to be left out!
Pesto – a sauce made from pine nuts, basil, garlic, parmesan, and olive oil.
Alternative: Instead swap a tomato based sauce, or ask for a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and grated parmesan on your pasta, hold the onions and garlic!
Orzo – rice shaped pasta.
Alternative: This pasta is typically made from wheat. Ask for rice or quinoa instead!
Hoisin sauce – sauce made from soy, garlic and red chilies.
Alternative: Fish sauce, oyster sauce, tamari and soy sauce are low FODMAP options with similar flavours.
Au gratin – a browned crust of bread crumb and grated cheese.
Alternative: The wheat bread crumbs are the culprit here. You could try asking if they have gluten-free bread crumb, but these dishes usually involve some sort of cream sauce as well, so it might be in the best interest of your gut to avoid these altogether.
Aioli – a mayonnaise based sauce, usually containing garlic.
Alternative: Ask for mustard, plain mayo or a wasabi mayo instead!
Lower FODMAP Menu Items
Tapenade – a spread made from capers, olives, anchovies and lemon juice.
This one should be low FODMAP friendly! A tapenade can be a good alternative to hummus.
Charcuterie – cured meats, cheese, fruits, nuts, preserves, bread and/or crackers.
Charcuterie boards are popular appetizers, and great for sharing! Most cured meats should be safe, as long as they don’t have onion or garlic added. When it comes to the selection of cheese, opt for firmer cheeses as they tend to have less lactose. Grapes are safe, but stay away from figs if they make an appearance. Most nuts are low FODMAP, except for pistachios, almonds, and cashews. The plate may come with a preserve or a chutney, which are generally low FOMDAP, but this can depend on the specific ingredients since there are so many varieties! As for the bread and crackers, ask if they have a gluten-free option, otherwise play it safe and skip this part.
Tamarind Paste – a common flavour in Indian cuisine, including dahls and curries. Totally low FODMAP!
Do you have any favourite places to eat out that are great at catering to your low FODMAP needs? Maybe you have a go-to meal that you like to order when you’re eating out? We would love it if you would share in the comments!
Yours in health,
Stephanie and The Team