How To Eat Out When You Have IBS
Going out to eat is a huge part of many people’s social lives. But, when you’re following a particular diet, or are restricted to what foods you can eat due to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, meeting friends out for dinner can sometimes be a stressful process.
If you normally suffer from IBS symptoms, then low-FODMAP meals and IBS-friendly recipes may be something you follow strictly. FODMAPs, which stands for ‘Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols’, are carbohydrates that are found within food. FODMAPs are not easily digested and can disrupt bowel function. You don’t need to miss quality time with friends and family, as with a little advance planning. It’s possible to eat out with friends while avoiding the discomfort caused by IBS. That’s why in this article, we will be taking a look at some top tips to follow when you are eating out, to ensure you have an enjoyable meal at your favourite restaurants with as little discomfort from symptoms as possible.
Research Restaurants That Offer IBS-Friendly Meals
Once you have an understanding of IBS-friendly foods and ingredients, take the time to research your local restaurants before you make dinner plans. An increasing number of restaurants are accommodating IBS diet restrictions. As well as gluten-free and vegan diets, there is an abundance of planning and consideration going into food menus in a variety of restaurants - many of which today offer IBS-friendly options.
You will find that the majority of restaurants have their latest menus online for you to read before visiting, which can usually be found on their website. This makes it easier than ever to plan ahead and assess whether the restaurant caters for a low fodmap diet.
If you cannot see any meal options that seem IBS-friendly, or you can not find a menu online, try to call ahead and check whether they can accommodate you. This is a great way to search through a variety of restaurants that catch your eye until you land on one that fits within your IBS diet.
Once you gather several dining options, it may be helpful to create a list of suitable restaurants that feel comfortable eating at, particularly ones that offer low fodmap meals and that you know can adhere to your IBS diet requirements.
Stick To IBS Diet Recipes Leading Up To Your Meal
Eat light, non-triggering meals that are IBS-friendly leading up to your social event. This way, you will avoid any discomfort and ensure that you feel your best.
If you normally take prescribed IBS medications, be sure to use them as prescribed prior to eating out. If you find that over-the-counter medicines for treating IBS help you to manage symptoms like gas, you may want to take a few with you when you eat out. If your symptoms are particularly bad, it is advised that you seek advice from a medical professional ahead of your social occasion.
Monitor Your Alcohol Intake Before You Eat Out
Going out can occasionally mean pre-meal drinks, whether this is at home with friends or at a bar before eating out. Alcohol can still be included as a part of your dinner plans, just keep an eye out for sugary cocktails and mixed drinks. It is advisable that you stick to alcoholic drinks that maintain relatively low FODMAPS, such as beer, wine, vodka or gin, and one serving is recommended.
Remember, everyone reacts differently and if your IBS symptoms are particularly triggered by drinking alcohol, it may be best to avoid it entirely.
Have Your Own Exit Plan From The Restaurant
If you begin to feel uncomfortable or start to experience symptoms whilst you are attending dinner plans, it can be more reassuring if the restaurant you are eating out at has a restroom that you feel comfortable using. You can always ask the staff to seat you at a table closer to the restroom so that you are close enough in case you need to use it at any point, which can give you peace of mind.
Similarly, if you are worried about symptoms interrupting your night, or you know you are prone to experiencing symptoms and discomfort whilst eating out, it may also be a good idea to drive your own car to the restaurant. Should you need to leave on your own terms, you may feel more comfortable on your night out knowing that this is an option.