Living with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be challenging, especially when it comes to choosing the right foods. However, with the low FODMAP diet gaining popularity, IBS sufferers now have a practical solution to manage their symptoms. FODMAPs, which stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, are poorly absorbed carbohydrates in the small intestine. By following a low FODMAP diet, individuals with IBS can reduce their symptoms, such as bloating, gas, and abdominal pain [1,2].
The Challenges of Eating Out and Ordering Takeout with IBS
One of the biggest challenges that individuals with IBS face is eating out and ordering takeout. Many restaurants and fast-food chains often use ingredients that are high in FODMAPs, making it difficult for IBS sufferers to find suitable options. This can lead to anxiety and frustration, as they are unsure of what is safe to eat.
What to Consider when Ordering Low FODMAP Takeout
When ordering takeout on a low FODMAP diet, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, it is essential to communicate your dietary restrictions clearly to the restaurant staff. Ask if they have any low FODMAP options or if they can customize a dish for you. Secondly, review the menu carefully and identify dishes that are likely to be low in FODMAPs, such as grilled meats, steamed vegetables, and rice-based dishes. Finally, be cautious of ingredients that are commonly high in FODMAPs, such as onions, garlic, and wheat-based products.
A Comprehensive List of Low FODMAP Foods Suitable for Takeout
To make ordering takeout easier for individuals with IBS, here is a list of the more common low FODMAP foods that are suitable for takeout:
- Grilled chicken or fish
- Steamed or sautéed vegetables (excluding high FODMAP options like onions and mushrooms)
- Plain rice or rice noodles
- Gluten-free options like corn tortillas or rice cakes
- Fresh fruits (excluding high FODMAP options like apples and watermelon)
- Dairy-free options like coconut milk or lactose-free cheese
By selecting dishes that incorporate these low FODMAP foods, individuals with IBS can enjoy a delicious takeout meal without triggering their symptoms.
Exploring Low FODMAP Options in Different Cuisines – Italian, Asian, Mexican, etc.
Whether you’re craving Italian, Asian, Mexican, or any other cuisine, there are low FODMAP options available for you. In Italian cuisine, opt for dishes like grilled chicken with steamed vegetables and gluten-free pasta with a tomato-based sauce. Asian cuisine offers choices such as stir-fried chicken or beef with low FODMAP vegetables and rice or rice noodles. Mexican cuisine can be enjoyed with dishes like grilled shrimp or chicken fajitas with corn tortillas and salsa. Remember to communicate your dietary restrictions to the restaurant and ask for any necessary modifications.
Tips for Customizing your Takeout Order to make it Low FODMAP
If you find yourself limited by the options available on the menu, don’t hesitate to customize your takeout order. Ask for sauces and dressings to be served on the side so that you can control the amount you consume. Avoid dishes that include high FODMAP ingredients, such as garlic or onion-based sauces. Instead, opt for simple seasoning like salt, pepper, or herbs. You can also request your dish to be cooked with olive oil instead of butter or other high FODMAP oils. Customizing your order allows you to enjoy your takeout while still adhering to your low FODMAP diet. Some common low and high FODMAP vegetables are listed below to help with your takeout customization.
Common Low FODMAP Vegetables
- Green beans
Common High FODMAP Vegetables
- Beans and pulses
- Mushrooms (especially button, shitake, and portobella)
- Onion (red, white, Spanish, shallots)
- Chicory root
- Spring onion (white part)
Is Cabbage Low FODMAP? Is Saurkraut Low FODMAP? Are Sweet Potatoes Low FODMAP? Debunking Common Misconceptions about Specific Foods
Cabbage is indeed low FODMAP and can be safely consumed by individuals with IBS. Sauerkraut, which is fermented cabbage, is high FODMAP and would be less tolerable for someone with IBS. Another twist is that fermented red cabbage may be more tolerable for IBS sufferers than traditional sauerkraut.
Some foods that are mistakenly believed to be high in FODMAPs include avocado, strawberries, and sweet potatoes. Yes, sweet potatoes are low FODMAP ! Despite being a starchy vegetable, sweet potatoes are well tolerated by individuals with IBS. They are a nutritious and delicious option for low FODMAP takeout. Sweet potatoes can be baked, steamed, or turned into fries for a satisfying and FODMAP-friendly meal. Remember to avoid adding high FODMAP toppings like garlic or onion-based sauces when preparing or ordering sweet potato dishes.
It is essential to debunk these misconceptions to make informed choices, especially when ordering takeout. In reality, many foods are low FODMAP and can be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Additionally, serving size matters. A low FODMAP food can become high FODMAP if eaten in large amounts . Always refer to reliable sources or consult with a registered dietitian to clarify any doubts about specific foods.
Self-care tips for Managing IBS
While the low FODMAP diet can significantly improve IBS symptoms, it is essential to practice self-care to manage the condition effectively. Here are some self-care tips that can be helpful and allow you to enjoy takeout meals while still managing your IBS:
- Practice portion control: Overeating can exacerbate IBS symptoms. Enjoy your takeout meal in moderation and listen to your body’s cues of fullness.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help maintain healthy digestion and prevent constipation, a common symptom of IBS.
- Manage stress: Stress can trigger IBS symptoms. Incorporate stress-reducing activities like yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises into your daily routine.
- Prioritize sleep: Getting enough quality sleep is crucial for overall well-being and can help manage IBS symptoms.
By incorporating these self-care tips into your routine, you can better manage your IBS while still enjoying the occasional takeout meal.
Navigating the takeout menu with ease is possible for individuals with IBS by following a low FODMAP diet. Understanding the benefits of low FODMAP and being aware of suitable food options empowers IBS sufferers to make informed choices when ordering takeout. By communicating your dietary restrictions, customizing your order, and debunking common misconceptions about specific foods, you can enjoy delicious and symptom-free takeout meals. Remember to prioritize self-care and consult with a registered dietitian for personalized guidance on managing IBS. With these strategies, individuals with IBS can confidently embark on their takeout adventures while keeping their symptoms at bay.
If you’re an IBS sufferer looking to enjoy takeout without triggering your symptoms, start by exploring low FODMAP options in your favorite cuisines. By understanding which foods are safe to consume and customizing your order, you can enjoy delicious takeout meals while managing your IBS. Don’t let your dietary restrictions limit your enjoyment of food – empower yourself with knowledge and make informed choices when ordering takeout.
 Halmos, E. P., Power, V. A., Shepherd, S. J., Gibson, P. R., & Muir, J. G. (2014). A diet low in FODMAPs reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Gastroenterology, 146(1), 67–75.e5. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2013.09.046
 Bellini, M., Tonarelli, S., Nagy, A. G., Pancetti, A., Costa, F., Ricchiuti, A., de Bortoli, N., Mosca, M., Marchi, S., & Rossi, A. (2020). Low FODMAP Diet: Evidence, Doubts, and Hopes. Nutrients, 12(1), 148. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010148
 Zhou, X., Gao, Q., Praticò, G., Chen, J., & Dragsted, L. O. (2019). Biomarkers of tuber intake. Genes & nutrition, 14, 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12263-019-0631-0
 Varney, J., Barrett, J., Scarlata, K., Catsos, P., Gibson, P. R., & Muir, J. G. (2017). FODMAPs: food composition, defining cutoff values and international application. Journal of gastroenterology and hepatology, 32 Suppl 1, 53–61. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgh.13698