The 6 Best Low FODMAP Cuisine Choices
EATING OUT ON THE LOW FODMAP DIET
Do you find eating out one of the biggest challenges on the low FODMAP Diet? Let’s face it, who doesn’t?! In fact, eating out is such a big challenge among IBS sufferers, that I wrote a whole post on how to do it whilst on the low FODMAP Diet (you can check it out here). I gave some killer tips in this that helped me gain the confidence to eat out. It’s certainly been a journey, but I now confidently eat out on a regular basis. I really want to give you the confidence to do this too as I think everyone deserves to be able to go out and enjoy themselves. Controlling your IBS symptoms shouldn’t mean you have to compromise that and making wise low FODMAP cuisine choices will help you.
One of the tips that I gave in that post was to offer to choose the restaurant (if you’re going out with others). This gives you a lot more control over finding low FODMAP food options. When it then comes to actually choosing where to go, there are some cuisines which are more FODMAP friendly than others. Knowing which these are will make your life a lot easier and mean you don’t have to make so many menu requests when you’re there.
I’ve shortlisted 6 cuisines here which I find are the best low FODMAP cuisines. That’s not to say other cuisines are off the table, you just might need to work a bit harder to get a low FODMAP meal.
THE 6 BEST LOW FODMAP CUISINE CHOICES
I’ve put this one first because it’s my personal favourite. I just find it the absolute safest go-to low FODMAP cuisine. Sushi & sashimi in particular are really simple on the low FODMAP Diet. As are tempura and grilled meats, fish and firm tofu with rice and certain veg. Rice and raw fish are both FODMAP free, and wasabi and soy sauce are also low FODMAP.
If you start to broaden out to more than just basic sushi, you’ll normally come across avocado and tempura of some sort. Both of these are high in FODMAPs, but are fine to eat in small quantities, according to Monash. For example, you can have 1/8 of an avocado and it’s still low FODMAP. As serving sizes are often small at these places, the amount put into sushi would rarely add up to more than this.
On top of being a great low FODMAP cuisine, Japanese is pretty fat free and raw fish is super high in Omega 3. These are both things outside of the low FODMAP Diet that help reduce symptoms of IBS. Rice is also a filling carb, so a great option if you’re struggling to fill up on the low FODMAP Diet.
Vietnamese is a great low FODMAP cuisine (as well as gluten free) because it is very much rice based. Most of the noodle dishes are made with rice noodles and they use rice flour in the summer rolls. Rice vermicelli noodles are a really good option, with meat, fish or firm tofu. Bun is also good, which is grilled pork (normally substitutes are available) served on white rice noodles. For a lighter option (I get this for lunch a lot), you can go for the summer rolls. These are rice paper rolls normally filled with vermicelli noodles, lettuce, carrots, cucumber, a protein of your choice and a load of fresh herbs..totally delicious.
Just be careful to check there is no garlic and onion put into the salads. I would also be careful with the Pho (noodle soup) as these are made with a broth which may contain garlic and will be difficult to change as it’s normally made in advance.
There are a lot of fresh salads and grilled protein options with Greek, making it a great low FODMAP cuisine. There is an emphasis on grilled food, which is wonderful as it’s normally not covered in a sauce. Good options here would be a mixed grill or char grilled fish served with potatoes or a salad. Olives are also low FODMAP and a great starter.
Again, for a lighter or lunch option, a Greek salad is perfect. I often have a big Greek salad for lunch, as it’s really filling and healthy. Just make sure you ask for it with no onions. For a not so healthy option, Saganiki is delicious and low FODMAP (basically a big plate of grilled cheese…YUM).
With Greek though, be careful to avoid the dips as most of them (including Hummus and Tzatziki) are high FODMAP. Also, a lot of the desserts are honey-based, so stay clear of these too.
4. PUB FOOD
A strange choice of low FODMAP cuisine, but a good one due to the plain, sauce free options available. Any cuisine where you can get a protein with some potatoes and veg is great for us low FODMAP-ers. This is why I’ve added this to this list. There is normally always an option on any pub menu of a grilled meat, fish or veggie alternative, served with potatoes and vegetables. This is always a safe bet, just ask for the sauce on the side in case it has sneaky high FODMAP ingredients in it. You can always ask for a low FODMAP alternative, like mayonnaise, if it does. That way you don’t have to eat a dry plate of food.
5. KOREAN BBQ
This has made it onto the list because it’s cooked right in front of you. Any cuisine where the food is cooked right before your eyes is a good low FODMAP cuisine. This is because you can see exactly what the chefs are putting into your meal and choose what’s put into yours. So, if you spot anything high FODMAP you can ask them to leave it out or just avoid it.
I’d put any other ‘made in front of you’ cuisines into this group, such as hotpot/steamboat or Japanese Teppanyaki. Anything where you can see what’s being put into your meal gives you the control over what you eat and therefore over your symptoms. Another Korean option I just discovered is Kimbap - like a Korean version of sushi, which is also low FODMAP.
The one thing I’d avoid with Korean is Kimchi. Although it's fermented so meant to be good for your gut, it’s also made with a tonne of garlic!
6. ‘BUILD YOUR OWN’ TYPE RESTAURANTS
OK, this one isn’t really a cuisine, but more a type of meal. It also covers a pretty broad variety of restaurants, which is great news for us. What I mean here is anything where you can construct your own meal and don’t have to order already constructed dishes from the menu.
One good example of this is salad or Poke bowl bars where you get to choose your own ingredients. Subway, Juiceria, and most supermarket salad bars offer this option. I get most of my lunches from these sorts of places as you can literally build yourself a low FODMAP meal. The only thing to be careful of here is the dressings, so I’d really recommend emailing/calling the restaurant beforehand to find out which of their dressings are safe. Have a look at this post (link) for some tips on how to do this. If you can’t do this, or none of them are safe, you can always just ask them to dress it with soy sauce or olive oil. I just get olive oil in Subway and it tastes pretty good!
Other good examples of this (not so much if you’re a vegetarian) are meat-based restaurants, such as steakhouses, BBQ restaurants and chicken restaurants. These places normally allow you to order your steak/meat/chicken and then choose a sauce and sides to go with it. This allows you to choose a low FODMAP sauce (or no sauce) and sides that are FODMAP friendly, such as carrots, salad, rice or potatoes. You may laugh, but Nandos is a great example of this. You could order your chicken plain, with a side salad and mashed potato, for example.
THE 6 BEST LOW FODMAP CUISINE CHOICES - KEY TAKEOUTS
Choosing the right cuisine can really help make eating out on the low FODMAP Diet easier
Informing yourself about the best options for each cuisine before going out to eat can make a big difference
I think the best low FODMAP cuisines are:
‘Build Your Own’ Type Restaurants
I hope this list has helped give you a bit of guidance on the best low FODMAP cuisines. If it helps give you more confidence to go and eat out, then I’ll be happy. Eating out on the low FODMAP Diet takes a bit of planning, but it is definitely worth it. You’ll love the diet so much more if you can eat well and enjoy your life whilst you’re on it.
If you’re still struggling with the confidence to eat out, have a look at my tips on getting over the fear of eating out on the low FODMAP Diet.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. Comment below and let me know which is your favourite low FODMAP cuisine!