Top 5 Low-FODMAP Cooking & Dining Out Strategies

I have been following the low-FODMAP diet for IBS for almost two years now with great success.  I am thrilled to now be able to manage my distressing digestive symptoms.  Following the FODMAP approach takes some effort and some new strategies to maximize your culinary pleasures…

1. Elevate Your Cooking

Don’t cook much?  Not a great cook?  Now is the time to learn and it’s time to make cooking a priority.  At the very least, consider taking a knife skills class or watch some cooking demonstrations on YouTube.  When you cook at home you are in control of your own dietary destiny, which now means eating a low-FODMAP diet.   

2. Elevate Your Ingredients

Take a tip from the best chefs; purchase the highest quality and the freshest ingredients you can afford.  This means seeking out local, seasonal produce and proteins.   A vine-ripened tomato from the farmer’s market in August has infinitely more tomato flavor than the winter tomatoes from Mexico.  Forget the salt & pepper shakers.  Use freshly ground pepper from a pepper mill and kosher salt.  Update your spice rack and use fresh herbs, as a garnish. 

3. Experiment with New Foods

It’s easy to get into a food rut by eating the same few foods throughout the week.  Some of my favorite foods are higher in FODMAPS so I peruse the Monash FODMAP phone app on a regular basis to discover new lower FODMAP foods to try.  Tempeh, millet, eggplant, kabocha squash and parsnips are now new favorites.

4. Have a Plan When Dining Out

Dining out on a low-FODMAP diet can be tricky because you’re not in control of the ingredients.  Plus, many foods are cooked with onions & garlic.  To make dining out a stress-free situation, I typically have very low-FODMAP meals ahead of the restaurant meal knowing it may be higher in FODMAPs.  Then I don’t have to worry about having a piece of bread or the ingredients in the sauce.  But feel free to ask questions about the menu, see if they can omit problematic foods and have sauces and dressings on the side.  Don’t be shy!

5. Analyze the Digestive Costs/Emotional Benefits Ratios

Think about having the ice cream for dessert, the bowl of fresh pasta, or a piece of birthday cake.  Do you want to feel deprived or left out of the joyful moments in life?  I know I don’t.  Sometimes these special treats have no ill effects and sometimes they do and I deal with the digestive consequences.  I usually follow a very low-FODMAP regimen the next day and I am back on track.